Universität Erfurt

Projekt von Prof. Dr. Kelly Whitmer

Prof. Dr. Kelly Whitmer

Object Lessons: Childhood, Science and Emotion in the Early Modern Realschule

My project focuses on the early history of the German Realschule as a key site of knowledge production and transmission in which young people participated. It will offer a new way of participating in conversations currently transpiring among historians of science about the role of emotion in knowledge production. And it will contribute to ongoing discussions regarding efforts to forge connections between scholarly and artisanal practices throughout the early modern period. Although the first German Realschule opened in the city of Halle (Saale) in 1707, there were several efforts to entirely re-imagine the material and visual culture of the school in place earlier than this. The educational reform initiatives associated with Andres Reyher in Gotha under Herzog Ernst (c. 1656) are perhaps the best known. However, they remain generally under-appreciated by historians of science, childhood and education outside of Germany. I will spend my time in the Gotha Forschungsbibliothek with both the estates of Wolfgang Ratke and Reyher in order to learn as much as possible about the status of inductive inquiry, invention, play and the nature of children’s participation in the implementation of these early educational reform efforts. Several scholars have already pointed to the influence of Johann Amos Comenius and Ratke on Reyher’s initiatives – but what does this actually mean? To what extent did the school actually become a space in which to educate scientific personae and to enlist young people’s participation in scientific research? I will use my time in Gotha to pose some preliminary answers to these questions.

 

 

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