My dissertation project

Workingtitle: The historical development of the concept of education (Erziehungsbegriff) and the question of the disappearance of the body in the German educational discourse (2011)

In June this year, I took part in  an international Summer School in Birmingham. This conference is for postgraduate researchers of history of education and it is supported by the European Educational Research Association, the Paedagogica Historica Foundation and the International Standing Conference for History of Education (ISCHE). In Birmingham, I presented my dissertation project for the first time, which I have been working at for three months. The following text is a shortened and slightly changed version of my presentation in which I describe the topic of my dissertation.

In my doctoral thesis, I will analyze a special semantic structure of the term education in the German speaking territory in the late 18th century and the early 19th century. The topic of my dissertation project is based on my diploma thesis. Based on Foucault’s discourse analysis, with special attention to the history of concepts, I was especially interested in the speech and knowledge concerning the body`s relation to education, and I also reflected on the role that gender plays. Therefore, I have analyzed the first German pedagogical standard work edited by Heinrich Joachim Campe, the so called Allgemeine Revision des gesamten Schul- und Erziehungswesens (General Revision of the Entire School and Education System), which was published in the late 18th century first Hamburg, later in Vienna, Brunswick and Wolfenbüttel. This is a standard work of the enlightenment pedagogy; it consists of sixteen volumes with more than twenty authors, translators and annotators. It also includes a translation of Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education and Rousseau’s Émile: or, On Education.

The starting point of this topic was a theoretical problem of the German academic discourse that I would like to focus on in my doctoral thesis once again. Since the early years of the 20th century the German educationalists who established the theoretical concepts about education have used the term education to describe a process in which psychological dispositions are influenced. According to this idea, an educator gives intellectual, moral or social instructions to a child or a teenager to form his or her personality. It is obvious that the actual target of education is the mind. In this discussion the body would be often described as the medium of education.
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