Tomlinson, Stephen 1954–

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Tomlinson, Stephen 1954–

(Stephen C. Tomlinson)


Born 1954. Education: University of London, B.Ed., 1977, M.A. (philosophy of education), 1979; University of Florida, M.A. (philosophy), 1986, Ph.D., 1991.


Office—Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Technology Studies, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. E-mail—[email protected].


Rydens School (high school), Walton on Thames, England, instructor in mathematics, 1978-80; Santa Fe Community College, Gainesville, FL, instructor in mathematics, 1983-89; University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, assistant professor, 1991-97, associate professor, 1997-2005, professor of the social foundations of education, 2005—, coordinator of programs in educational foundations and educational leadership, 2000-03, chair of educational leadership, policy, and technology studies, 2003—. University of Alabama at Birmingham, visiting assistant professor at school of nursing, summers, 1993 and 1994.


Head Masters: Phrenology, Secular Education, and Nineteenth-Century Social Thought, University of Alabama Press (Tuscaloosa, AL), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of the Southeastern Regional Association of Teacher Educators and Perspectives in the History of Higher Education.


Stephen Tomlinson's book Head Masters: Phrenology, Secular Education, and Nineteenth-Century Social Thought revisits a field of study long dismissed as a pseudoscience, arguing that it actually had a great impact on education and social policy. Phrenology is the study of the shape of the bones of the skull, based on the idea that moral and intellectual characteristics have a palpable impact on its structure. Assessing Tomlinson's work in the Journal of Southern History, Peter McCandless wrote that the author "provides a convincing and overdue reassessment of phrenology's impact on nineteenth-century reform ideas." McCandless felt that the wealth of detail included by Tomlinson somewhat obscured his main arguments, but he called Head Masters "a useful book for anyone interested in the history of education, disability, mental illness, and penology." While suggesting that Tomlinson could have gone further in drawing conclusions about the greater implications of phrenology's impact, Robert Whaples in History observed that the author "utterly convinces" the reader of education leader Horace Mann's "thoroughgoing devotion to phrenology, which left a lasting imprint on American education."



Choice, November, 2005, M.S. Miller, review of Head Masters: Phrenology, Secular Education, and Nineteenth-Century Social Thought, p. 529.

History, spring, 2005, Robert Whaples, review of Head Masters, p. 105.

Journal of American History, March, 2006, William W. Cutler III, review of Head Masters, p. 1429.

Journal of Southern History, May, 2006, Peter McCandless, review of Head Masters, p. 460.


Stephen Tomlinson Home Page, (June, 2008).