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Guest lecture: "Scientificity and systematics of teaching in the GDR. Material for Mythicisation"

The research network "Dictatorship Experience and Transformation" invites to the next event on Thursday, 10 June, as part of its colloquium in the summer semester 2021 at the University of Erfurt. Starting at 4 p.m., Dr. Kerrin von Engelhardt and Prof. Dr. Sabine Reh will speak about "Scientificity and systematics of teaching in the GDR. Material for Mythicisation".

Detail from Walter Womacka: Unser Leben, 1964.
Detail from Walter Womacka: Unser Leben, 1964. Mosaikfries am Haus des Lehrers, Berlin. (Photo: Andreas Steinhoff, Berlin)

Immediately after the "Wende", when the GDR's schools and teaching lost legitimacy, teachers believed that they had to defend their professional lives and identities in the face of growing criticism of the ideology-heavy nature of their teaching and the preferential treatment or discrimination of certain politically aligned or disliked pupils. Among other things, they resorted to a concept of scientificity - and not only for science education. They claimed scientificity to describe the claim of their teaching in the GDR and to tell that something from the GDR had been good and worth saving. "Scientificity" thus became the material for myth-making after the "Wende".

How this happened and how contested interpretations emerged here will be briefly examined in a first step of the colloquium lecture on 10 June. In a second step, Kerrin von Engelhardt and Sabine Reh will use various sources from the GDR to outline what "Wissenschaftlichkeit" meant in the context of school policy in the GDR and what could be understood by it - possibly also differently or changing in different phases of the GDR's educational history. Three dimensions of the concept were identified, which allow a differentiated view of the "scientific nature" of teaching in the GDR and to interpret it in terms of contemporary historical interpretations of the "social scientificisation" of politics in the 20th century. In a third part, a science teaching film from 1963 will be used as an example to show how scientificity is referred to here and how it was staged cinematographically.

Dr. Kerrin v. Engelhardt heads the project "The Myth of Scientific Neutrality: The Educational Film in Schools during the Cold War" in the research network "Educational Myths about the GDR - A Dictatorship and its Afterlife. (MythErz). She is a research assistant at the Department of Historical Educational Research at the Institute of Educational Sciences at the HU Berlin.
Prof. Dr. Sabine Reh heads the project " Own and foreign images. Taught, told, disseminated." in the MythErz research network. She is a Professor in the Department of Historical Educational Research at the Institute of Educational Sciences at HU Berlin and Director of the Library for Research on the History of Education in Berlin.

The colloquium will take place digitally via the Cisco Webex platform in the summer semester 2021 (meeting room: https://uni-erfurt.webex.com/meet/DuT.Erfurt. The event will start at 4 pm, the meeting room will open 15 minutes before the start of the event. There is no need to register separately at Webex, you can join the meeting directly via your browser. If you need more information about access or assistance, please contact: dut.info@uni-erfurt.de.