CfP: new edited book, Curriculum of the body and the school as clinic: Histories of public health and schooling, 1900-2020

We have provisional approval from a commercial press for an international edited book provisionally titled, Curriculum of the body and the school as clinic: Histories of public health and schooling, 1900-2020.

The book’s focus is outlined below as well as our proposed timeline for author submissions. We welcome proposals for chapters that will be 6,000-8,000 words in length.

We particularly welcome submissions from:

[1] Early and early-mid-career scholars, whether as sole, lead or co-author; and,

[2] Scholars who have not previously published extensively in English.


Book Overview


Title: Curriculum of the body and the school as clinic: Histories of public health and schooling, 1900-2020

This international edited collection employs the concept of the ‘curriculum of the body’ (Burns, Proctor & Weaver, 2020) to distinguish a set of educational technologies, schooling practices and school-based public health programmes that have been enacted on or through the body of children and young people—not in isolation but rather “in permanent interdependence with other beings and objects” (Veiga, 2018, p. 22). The collection focuses on the twentieth century, with some chapters likely to extend into the first decades of the twenty-first. Our intention is to delineate a period during which the belief that every child should spend several years in school gained near universal global agreement, no matter the variations in local provision and practice. Additionally, this was a period in which the imperatives of public health became increasingly systematized and bureaucratized and schools were identified as key sites nationally and internationally for health and welfare interventions (Proctor & Burns, 2017). The rationale for the time period and institutional focus is to pay attention to the development of a set of institutional forms, repertoires of expertise, and bodily practices that became normalized and naturalized as elemental to schooling—and thereby to childhood and adolescence.

The book is informed by an expanded view of curriculum that recognizes that the school curriculum encompasses not just the content or transmission of formal syllabuses, but rather a whole range of teaching and learning that goes on, both in accordance with and despite of the stated or unstated objectives of schoolteachers and other authorities.


The collection will describe a set of consequential encounters between modern schooling, (public) health discourse and the bodies of children by mapping key dimensions of the ‘curriculum of the body’. It is a curriculum in that there is a level of coherence and direction to its practices, which are instructional in nature, even if not always at the level of transparent or even consciously articulated planning by school authorities. This coherence and direction occur despite the lack of a monolithic center of power, despite this curriculum being untidily put together from various different parts of the operation and forms of schooling, and despite both instances and patterns of inconsistency and contradiction.


The situating of this bodily curriculum in modern schooling draws attention to the historical significance of the institutionalization of education, across the twentieth and into the twenty-first centuries. Schooling is theorized as one of the great organizing institutions of modernity, which, in the case of the curriculum of the body, coexisted and intersected with contemporarily emerging fields of authority, knowledge and organization in medicine, public health and developmental psychology. Schools became so closely identified with first childhood and then adolescence that the artificiality of this connection is now scarcely visible. Modern categorizations of childhood and adolescence grew interactively with the expansion of modern, classroom-based schooling, and occasioned new beliefs and practices of corporeal management, protection and discipline. 



The collection is organized into four subsections that outline a range of dimensions and practices that collectively constitute the curriculum of the body in modern schooling. We are seeking chapters that critically reflect on the ways in which, since about 1900, the bodies of children and young people have been discursively constructed and materially implicated in and through the formal and informal technologies and practices of curriculum in different places. Each thematic subsection demonstrates how the curriculum of the body was shaped by the broader values and norms governing particular places at particular points in time. They also highlight the key authorities and dominant bodies of knowledge instrumental in establishing childhood during the schooling years as a period of physical vulnerability in need of management. While recognizing that the practices and effects of any kind of curriculum, or set of curricular practices, will always to some extent be messy, contested or inconsistent, the collection sections establish themes and continuities.


The book subsections four key elements of the curriculum of the body, which organize the collection of chapters into subsections: (1) Formal programmes; (2) Clinical practices; (3)Architecture, spatialities, and materialities; (4) Classroom pedagogies and disciplinary practices. Each subsection will contain three-four chapters. Under these headings we additionally invite contributors to address the collection’s unifying theme – the historical making of childhood and youth in relation to the historical making of systematized and institutionalized expert knowledge.


We have written two papers together offering an expanded idea of our purpose in theorising schools as clinics, and in focussing on the corporeal in the school curriculum and would be happy to send PDF versions to anyone who would like further information about the kind of work we are envisaging, or who is generally interested:

Burns, K., Proctor, H., Weaver, H. (2020). Modern schooling and the curriculum of the body. In Tanya Fitzgerald (Eds.), Handbook of Historical Studies in Education: Debates, Tensions, and Directions, (pp. 1-21). Singapore: Springer.


Proctor, H., Burns, K. (2017). The connected histories of mass schooling and public health. History of Education Review, 46(2), 118-124


Interested contributors are invited to submit a chapter proposal (about 1000 words including bios) to Dr Kellie Burns and A/Prof Helen Proctor including the following information:


1. Proposed chapter title

2. Conceptual/ theoretical focus

3. Empirical research base / details of the research

4. Proposed thematic link to the collection under one of the four subsections listed above.

5. Brief author bios and/or links to an institutional web page, Google Scholar profile or equivalent (as mentioned above, we are keen to encourage work from new and emerging scholars as well as from scholars who have not previously been read extensively in English).


Proposed timeline:

Abstracts due: 31 March 2021 (or sooner)

Contributors notified: 15 April 2021

Full (6,000-8,000 word) chapter due: 30 November 2021

Reviews and editing, editors’ introductory essay completed November 2021-May 2022 as needed.

Book manuscript submitted: June 2022

Contact Info: 

Dr Kellie Burns, University of Sydney

Associate Professor Helen Proctor, University of Sydney