Who Wrote the Books: A History of the History of Student Affairs
This historiography offers a critique of the common narrative of student affairs history by considering the ways in which the history of student affairs is mediated by those scholars writing the texts. Student affairs professionals and scholars are regularly engaged in reflection on current practices, trends, and concerns within the field; however, it is equally important to continue looking back into our professional history. In this paper, I employ a process of historiography to critique the way in which the history of student affairs is mediated by those scholars writing the texts. A historiography seeks to tell the history of a history--the history of the history of student affairs. This historiography first traces the historical development of the field as presented in commonly used student affairs textbooks covering major periods of the profession including student personnel, student development, and student learning. After providing a review of student affairs history as illustrated in professional texts, I then provide contextual research of the individual authors such as their educational pathways and employment credentials. Using a variety of critical theories, I interrogate the common narrative presented in student affairs history texts with intentional consideration to the scholars writing the texts.