News and Events Archive

Call for Proposals: "Educating a Working Society" Book Chapters (2015-02-12)

We are approaching the centennial of the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917. Through the ways in which it defined and financed vocational education, the Smith-Hughes Act shaped profoundly the realm of secondary schooling in the twentieth-century United States. In key respects, it continues to shape how youth experience secondary schooling, and how we think about and operationalize “vocational education” – its purposes, forms, and intersections with other dimensions of schooling, education, and life.

Are you interested in researching, presenting, and publishing new work related to vocationalism in education? Do you have graduate-level students who might be? Jared Stallones, the book series editor for the Organization of Educational Historians, and I would like to use the Smith-Hughes Act as the organizing theme for an edited volume, to be published in 2017. Tentative title: Educating a Working Society: Vocationalism, the Smith-Hughes Act, and Modern America.

For this book, because we want to encourage fresh thinking, Jared and I are adopting a big-tent view of “vocational education” (generally, work-related, and encompassing schooling and non-school sites/experiences of learning). We have refrained from defining specific topics. As people propose and suggest different areas of interest, we will re-shape the book’s contours.

At the moment, we have identified several categories that we think could be fertile ground for inquiry. We are open to other possibilities.

1. Vocationalism in Education in the Nineteenth Century

2. Vocationalism in Education at the turn of the Twentieth Century

3. The Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 (origins, legislative history, provisions, implementation)

4. The Smith-Hughes Model and Federal and State Government Relations in Education

5. The Intersections of Work, Education, and Gender

6. The Intersections of Work, Education, Race, and Ethnicity

7. Changing Economic Conditions and Philosophies: Implications for Vocational Education

8. The American High School: Missions and Crises of Identity

9. Vocationalism in Education in the Twenty-first Century

10. American Vocationalism in a Global Context

At the upcoming OEH conferences (2015, 2016, 2017), we would like to have pre-arranged sessions (panel or roundtable) related to this topic. Note: for those people who teach graduate-level seminars, this could be a good theme for reading and inquiry.

If you know someone who might be interested in this project, pass along the word. If you are interested, please let us know. Send specific questions and comments to me via email

[ ]. After we make email contact, I will gladly talk to you on the telephone, too.

Dr. Glenn P. Lauzon

Indiana University Northwest

Past-President, Organization of Educational Historians

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