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Carola Groppe, “West German Universities in the Sixties: Academic and Political Debates on the Humanities and the Sciences and the Role of Generation Conflicts”

The lecture will investigate the traditional Humboldt idea of the German research university in the Sixties. Essential part of this idea has always been the specific German concept of Bildung of the students as the result of being part of an intellectual place where research and teaching are strongly connected. Especially the humanities emphasized their contributions to this university ideal. For different reasons, it began to change in the Sixties. The lecture focuses on this change process and its structural and political reasons and investigates the consequences for the humanities, particularly their partial change into social sciences. The analysis of several exemplary academic and political debates on the humanities and the sciences in the 1960s will then especially ask for the role of technology and science in this transformation process. One important thesis is that the transformation of the humanities was the result of fighting of three different academic generations within the intellectual field for power and control of interpretation. The eldest generation was born before World War I, the second was born in the 1920s and early 1930s, and the third was born in the late 1930s and 1940s. The lecture will examine their typical socialization experience in the academic field and will ask for its impact on the debates of the Sixties. It will be emphasized that it was not only the third generation, the so called generation of the 1968 student movement, that deeply changed the humanities and the concept of Bildung at West German Universities.
Carola Groppe is Professor of Educational Science, especially History of Education, at the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg, Germany. She is currently the Gerda Henkel Visiting Professor at Stanford University in the Department of German Studies. She received her Ph.D. in 1996 at the Ruhr University of Bochum from the Faculty of Philosophy, Education and Media studies. Her dissertation dealt with the circle around the poet Stefan George and was published in 1997 (“Die Macht der Bildung. Das deutsche Bürgertum und der George-Kreis 1890-1933“). In her postdoctoral thesis (Habilitation) she analyzed the processes of education and socialization in an entrepreneurial family in Germany from the 17th to the early 19th century. It was published in 2004 (“Der Geist des Unternehmertums. Die Unternehmerfamilie Colsman 1648-1840. Eine Bildungs- und Sozialgeschichte“). Carola Groppe worked from 1991 to 2004 as a Lecturer and later as an Assistant Professor for the History of Education at the Ruhr University of Bochum. She obtained two Academic Awards for her doctoral thesis and a two year scholarship research grant for her postdoctoral thesis. She is the co-editor of several volumes and the author of more than 50 articles on the history of education from the 18th century onwards.



Tuesday, January 12, 2016. 12:00 PM


Pigott Hall (Bldg 260), room 252


Department of German Studies, Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages