History of Education. Journal of the History of Education Society vol:36 issue:2 pages:243-260
This article considers how historians might use imagery in the context of an open-air school in Germany, Senne I-Bielefeld (1922-1939). In considering the ‘nature’ of such images, issues and problems associated with their interpretation are illuminated and discussed. Firstly, two images selected from the pre-Nazi period of the school are examined within a theoretical discussion. Then, the article explores the question of how historians might understand the ‘discipline’ of the body of the school child through its representation in photographs. The open-air school is thereby considered as a demonstration of the result and possibility of bio-power. Through such visual representations an argument is developed to reveal the meaning of the body in the school with reference to children’s experience of the school’s power/knowledge. A third image from the Nazi-period of the school is employed to point to changes in the representation of children's bodies over time. Finally a plea is made for more attention to the emotional engagement of the historian as a valuable source in the history of education.