Uppsala universitet

Department of Education

Working group:
History of Education

Study of Education and culture (SEC)

Department of History


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Johannes Westberg

Short English CV and Publications>>

My Swedish homepage>>

Since December 2010, I have been employed as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Education, Uppsala University, Sweden, and since 2012 as senior lecturer in history of education. In 2014 I was appointed as associate professor in history, and I am the coordinator of the Swedish network in history of education>>

After defending my dissertation on the emergence of early childhood education in Sweden 1835-1945 in 2008, my research have primarily shed light upon the history of early childhood education (infant schools, kindergartens, day care centers) and elementary schooling (the history of elementary/ primary schools, government grants, local taxation, school buildings, teachers’ salaries etc.). With the support of Swedish Research council and the Handelsbanken Research Fund, the main focus of my work 2009-16 is research and supervision of two PhD-students in the research project “Economics of Education: The financing of the Swedish elementary school, 1842–1936”. In total I have received 7.17 million SEK in external grants since 2008.

In addition to the edited book Att rätt förfoga över tingen [On the Right disposal of things] (2007), and two articles based on Michel Foucault's research, my publications have mainly dealt with the history Swedish infant schools, kindergartens and elementary schools. Apart from my dissertation, my research on the history of early years education has resulted in articles and chapters on e.g. the history of Swedish infant schools, the educational transfer of Friedrich Froebels pedagogy to Sweden, the construction of Ellen and Maria Moberg as educational heroes in the historiography of Swedish kindergartens, and the spatial dimensions of Swedish early care and education programs of the early twentieth century. I have also edited a book on “The Agents of Pre-School History” (Förskolans aktörer) (2011), with chapters written by e.g. prof. Kevin Brehony, prof. Tora Korsvold and prof. em. Ann-Katrin Hatje. A review in English of this book is available here>>

As editor, I have also edited books with a wider educational historical perspective. Along with Esbjörn Larsson, I am the editor of Utbildningens sociala och kulturella historia [The Social and Cultural History Education] (2010) and the textbook Utbildningshistoria – en introduction [History of Education: an introduction] (2011). The latter received the Textbook of the Year Award (“Kurslitteraturpriset”) from the publisher Studentlitteratur. In cooperation with Carla Aubry (Zürich/Kreuzlingen), I have also edited History of Schooling (Peter Lang, 2012).

The main contributions following my dissertation has been the studies that I’ve conducted on the social and economic history of mass schooling in Sweden. In focus has been the emergence of mass education in Sweden during the nineteenth century, and my publications has for example dealt with parliamentary debate on school finance, the costs of schoolhouses, and the role played by school acts, government grants, the funding of firewood and the creation of teachers’ allotted farm in the rise of schooling.

The monograph Att bygga ett skolväsende (Nordic Academic Press, 204, 445 pp) is my main publication since my dissertation, and it is the best example of what I have been tryingto achieve during the last few years. It presents a methodological and theoretical perspective, primary adapted from agrarian and social history, coupled with insights from mainly Michel Foucault, intended to deal with the preconditions of mass schooling during the second half of the nineteenth century. As such it utilizes source material, e.g. from local courts and Swedish land registration authority, that rarely if ever has been used by historians of education, a conceptual framework from the historical study of the building industry, which enabled me to recontextualize the history of schooling to include such matters as the expansion of the market economy, the modernisation of the credit market, the organization of the Swedish parishes, the enclosure movement, and the expansion of the construction materials market. Thus, the ten chapters of my monograph questions the dominant narratives of the research field which presents the rise of mass schooling as a result of social discipline, state formation or the decentralisation of school systems.

Whenever possible, I participate in Swedish and international conferences, such as European Social Science History Conference, International Standing Conference in the History of Education, International Froebel Society Conference, and I have also been the initiator and/or the organizer of several conferences and workshops. For example, I coordinated the Fourth Nordic educational historic conference (2009), and smaller conferences such as "New perspectives on the school's history (2007),"The northern question (2010) and "History of schooling (2011).

Contact details
E-mail: johannes.westberg@edu.uu.se
Tel: +46 18 471 24 88

Postal adress:
Department of Education

Uppsala university
Box 2136
750 02  Uppsala