The Foundations of American Imperial Education

Ronald K. Goodenow


The evolution of American educational imperialism is presented, beginning with colonialism in territories obtained from Spain in the early 20th century through the US occupation of Germany and Japan after the Second World War and then through the Cold War and post Cold War periods. A selection of examples will discuss basic foundations of American educational imperialism, including values and ideals, international exchanges, philanthropy, education in select Muslim countries, business education, and collaboration between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ power aspects of imperialism. It is noted where this collaboration has either failed or led to catastrophic outcomes. Major shifts are noted to correspond to changes in US public, political and popular attitudes. Conclusions regarding the shape of and shifts in educational imperialism are provided. It will be seen that much of what is observed is a ‘mix’ of politics and practicalities which produced a mix of outcomes.


soft power; colonial; occupation; philanthropy; exchanges; educational progressive

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