september, 2020

mon14sep5:00 pm6:00 pmVirtual EventShould young people in the Folk today be ashamed of Folk generations of the past?Pioneers and Venturers and DFs (10-21)


(Monday) 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Event Details

Two years ago, Woodcraft members attending the Symposium on Education for Social Change: the
many histories of the Woodcraft Folk were disturbed or even shocked by the argument of one of the
speakers. In his presentation Rich Palser argued that when the Folk was formed in 1925 its strategy
for achieving social change was informed by the ideas of eugenics, and that this shaped its
educational methods. This led a number of shocked DFs present to ask ‘What are we supposed to do
with this?’
This session provides an opportunity to discuss this issue in greater depth. Were the eugenic ideas of
the early Folk something we should accept as being just a product of their time, as eugenic ideas
were broadly held and influential in the early 20 th century? Should we ignore or down play that
phase of the Folk’s history lest it stand in the way of building the Folk today? Can we afford to ignore
it when eugenic ideas were often combined with racist and sexist ideas? Should we face up to that
past by, as it were, demolishing the statues of Leslie Paul and other Folk leaders of that time?
Introducing this session Rich Palser will argue that in facing up to our past we can also find a very
positive history of the Folk on which to build. Rather than a critical examination of our past being an
obstacle to how we educate for social change in the present, it can help us to reflect on our current
approaches to educating for social change so as to improve on them.


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