The Language of Religious Education: Sunday Schools, Bilingualism, and Ethnicity in Ontario, 1880-1930

Event Date: 
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 12:00 to 13:00

In this presentation, Dr. Bryce explores the changing relationship between German and English at Lutheran Sunday schools in Ontario between 1880 and 1930. He examines the efforts of several thousand mothers and fathers to ensure that their children were raised both Lutheran and proficient in German. Through this educational project, one can track adults’ attitudes about language, children, and the place of both language and denomination in the construction of ethnicity."My focus is on bilingualism rather than German," Dr. Bryce says, "and on Canadian children rather than Germans. My argument is that Sunday schools played an important role in shaping the bilingualism of thousands of people in Ontario society." Sunday schools provided a space for language education outside the growing state-controlled educational apparatus between 1880 and 1930. German-speaking adults focused on Sunday schools while they ceded to the overwhelming pervasiveness of English in most other spaces of children’s everyday lives.

Dr. Benjamin Bryce, History Department, York University

WHEN: Tuesday, 26 February 2013, 12 noon - 1:00 pm
WHERE: 2B23 (Bryce Hall, second floor)

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