This chapter in Women, Power Relations and Education in a Transnational World examines comparison and abstraction as systems of reason in stadial accounts that facilitated the transnational circulation of the ‘idea’ of women’s education. It discusses the transnational circulation of texts in which stadial approaches were developed, the processes of abstraction that facilitated transnational transfer across national and nation-state/empire borders, and paradoxes of female agency in stadial approaches that supported the transnational circulation of the ‘idea’ of women’s education; and far from its origin and abstracted from European thought, the idea of women’s education gained different breadths of application. The chapter concludes that while processes of abstraction engendered transnational circulation around nations and nation-state/empires, elements of practice hidden in abstractions provided seeds of particularism to engender feminist re-workings of the ‘idea’ of women’s education. Theoretical contestation would come to stress intersectionalities and complexities, along with processes of gendered and racialized power that abstraction had occluded.
Joyce Goodman, ‘The Measure to Rank the Nations in Terms of Wealth and Power?’ Transnationalism and the Circulation of the ‘Idea’ of Women’s Education, in Women, Power Relations and Education in a Transnational World, edited by Christine Mayer and Adeline Arredondo (Palgrave, 2020), 17-34