Eastman School of Music faculty member Rachel Remmel has been awarded a research grant of $31,920 from the Spencer Foundation and will spend the 2011-2012 academic year writing a book that explains the architectural origins of the graded school model that is used in most American schools today. She will spend time in Boston, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati investigating how the graded school model became the lasting American educational form.
“I am excited that the Spencer Foundation is supporting my book, and I am looking forward to helping people understand the origins of the school buildings that they take for granted,” said Remmel. “When we think about schools today, we automatically envision grade levels, auditoriums, blackboards, and classrooms with one teacher instructing a small group of students. My book will show that these features originated in nineteenth-century Boston and subsequently spread throughout the country.”
An assistant professor of American Studies at the Eastman School, Remmel teaches courses on the history of American and of African-American art; modern architecture; the architecture of American houses; the history of American education; the history of photography; writing and composition; and antebellum culture. She has presented her work at conferences of the College Art Association, the American Studies Association, the History of Education Society, the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, and the Society for the History of Children and Youth.
Remmel has received awards and fellowships from the Society of Architectural Historians, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts, and the Henry Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies, among others. She volunteers for the Landmark Society of Western New York.
Remmel holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and German literature from Williams College and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in art history from the University of Chicago.
The Spencer Foundation was established in 1962 and investigates ways in which education can be improved around the world. Since 1971, the foundation has awarded approximately $250 million in grants.
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