NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ959294
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0030-9230
Object Lessons: A Cultural Genealogy of the Dunce Cap and the Apple as Visual Tropes of American Education
Weaver, Heather A.
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, v48 n2 p215-241 2012
When we look in depth at how the experience of education was represented in American culture, we find evidence of visual tropes representing evolving but persistent aspects of the experience of schooling, such as the performance of judgement, and the desire to know the world. These tropes were rendered in terms of pictorial conventions that went back centuries to chapbook woodcuts, and that by the early twentieth century had appeared and would reappear in movies, illustrations of novels and textbooks, magic-lantern slides and stereograph cards, and the art of popular magazines. Focusing on the dunce cap and the apple, this essay shows how these two simple objects arrived in the early twentieth century as icons for the process of education and the experience of schooling. While changing over time, they were important for the way in which they gave successive generations common symbols for understanding school. In the process of being appropriated repeatedly over the space of decades and centuries as symbols of the educational process, the dunce cap and the apple were transformed into conservative forms, dense with the layers of meaning that accrued to them. (Contains 30 figures and 50 footnotes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States