The History of IJSE

The journal first appeared in 1945, when Robert La Follette produced what was originally known as the
Indiana Social Studies Quarterly, serving as the official journal of the Indiana Council for the Social Studies. Under the editorial direction of a succession of editors, all of them members of the Department of History at Ball State, the quarterly grew from a newsletter to a larger and more scholarly publication.

In 1984 John E. Weakland became editor of the
ISSQ as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Indiana Council for the Social Studies, enabling him to maintain the close links previously established between Ball State, elementary- and secondary-level social studies teachers in Indiana, and academics at the university level. Two years later, Weakland oversaw the transition of the ISSQ to the International Journal of Social Education, beginning its issues with volume one rather than continue the volume numbers of the ISSQ in order to avoid confusion among institutional subscribers.

Between 1984 and 1986, Weakland reorganized the journal along international lines and was able to obtain the services of eighty-seven of the best scholars in social education and the various social sciences to serve on an International Advisory Board. With the assistance of many people, he built up an ongoing list of over three hundred referees from all over the world that helped him plan thematic issues, referee papers, and broaden and sustain the mission of the journal to explain and extend the definition, purpose, and uses of social education. The most renowned scholars in the field have subsequently contributed to the journal.

IJSE is regularly used in university classes around the country. In addition to ICSS and individual subscribers, over 150 libraries in the United States, Canada, India, China, Japan, Australia, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America receive it. Articles in the IJSE are frequently cited in other scholarly works.

As the journal continued to publish critical new information on significant issues, advance important new interpretations, and offered useful revisions of older perspectives, it gained national and international recognition. Cambridge University in England purchased a complete run of both the
ISSQ and the IJSE, becoming the only institution apart from Ball State to possess every issue published since 1945. The autumn 1990 on Geography and Social Studies Education received a national award as the best thematic issue on geography of any journal in the country. The National Council for the Social Studies used the autumn 1991 issue, Social Studies as a Discipline, for their annual retreat. The spring 1991 issue, Commemorating the End of World War II, attracted the attention of a TV crew from Japan, who came to Indiana to observe the classes of some of the teachers who had contributed articles on the subject; their film subsequently aired on national television in Japan. Copies of the 1995 issue on International Developments in Geography Education were distributed at an international conference of geography held in the Netherlands. In short, as Jack Nelson of Rutgers University observed in a 1994 article in Theory and Research in Social Education, the International Journal of Social Education has become a publication “that thoughtful social educators at any grade level should read.” He ranked Social Education, the official journal of the National Council for the Social Studies, and the International Journal of Social Education as the top journals in the field.

With the retirement of John Weakland in 1998, D. Antonio Cantu assumed the editor’s position and continued the success of the journal. In 2006, John M. Glen became editor of the
IJSE and has recognized the imperative of maintaining the level of scholarly excellence established by his predecessors over the previous six decades. The International Journal of Social Education will continue to publish a broad spectrum of topics characterized by innovative approaches and high quality.