Dr. Anthony Di Mascio of the School of Education has been awarded the Canadian History of Education Association’s 2016 English-language Book Award for his monograph entitled The Idea of Popular Schooling in Upper Canada: Print Culture, Public Discourse, and the Demand for Education (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012). The Founders’ Prizes of the Canadian History of Education Association acknowledge the excellence of contributions to Canadian educational history.
In The Idea of Popular Schooling in Upper Canada, Anthony Di Mascio analyzes debates about education in the burgeoning print culture of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In it, he finds that a widespread movement for popular schooling in Upper Canada began in earnest from the time of the colony’s first Loyalist settlers. Reviving the voices of Upper Canada’s earliest school advocates, Di Mascio reveals the lively public discussion about the need for a common system of schooling for all the colony’s children. Despite different and often contentious opinions on the means and ends of schooling, there was widespread agreement about its need by the 1830s, when the debate was no longer about whether a popular system of schooling was desirable, but about what kinds of schools would be established. The making of educational legislation in Upper Canada was a process in which many inhabitants, both inside and outside of government, participated. The Idea of Popular Schooling in Upper Canada is the first full survey of schooling in Canada to focus on the pre-1840 period and how it framed policy debates that continue to the present day.
Dr. Di Mascio has now moved on to new projects, including his SSHRC-funded research on American influences on education in the Eastern Townships of Quebec during the 1784-1875 period.