A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
May 12, 2005 Volume 35 / Number 8


Judy Raftery Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

Judy Raftery, History, has received an NEH grant for the 2005–2006 academic year to continue research and writing on a book-length historical study of the U.S. government’s use of public schooling to promote state and nation building in the Philippines from 1900 to 1916. As American bureaucrats envisioned a revised Philippine nation, gender and religious issues took on critical importance. Raftery takes individuals and their stories, and weaves them together with histories of women and gender, religion, education, and progressive reform to offer a new perspective to the United States’ first planned experiment in colonial rule.

“I’m looking at American Colonialism,” said Raftery. Some people, she said, don’t believe that America was a colonial power—we had territories, but not colonies. “At the end of the nineteenth century the U.S. was vying for world power with the likes of Great Britain, France, Germany, and even Belgium, who did have colonies. It was a period of worldwide imperialism,” she said, “and it would be foolish to deny we were an imperial power.”

Raftery will study the lives of four Americans and one Filipina who were teachers and administrators during this time. One of the teachers was from Chico, attended Chico Normal, and lived in the Philippines for 37 years. Raftery has been reading his family papers in Special Collections of the Meriam Library.

Raftery has taught in the Department of History since 1986. She received her PhD from UCLA in 1985 in U.S. history, with a focus on the progressive era from 1890 until 1920. She published her first book, Land of Fair Promise: Politics and Reform in Los Angeles Schools, 1885-1941, Stanford University Press, in 1992.

The Spencer Foundation awarded her a fellowship for 1999–2000, and she received a CSU research grant for spring 2000. That year she also had a Huntington Library Fellowship. Those three grants allowed her to do her initial research in the Philippines, in libraries in the United States, including the Library of Congress and National Archives, and in Spain. The NEH will make it possible to finish her book, Teaching for Democracy: Education and Public Policy in the Philippines, 1898-1915.

—Kathleen McPartland