Humboldt's Will: The Idea of the University in the Post-War Era

Project: Research

Layman's description

Wilhelm von Humboldt has been a recurrent name in the debate on the
foundations of the modern university for long time, but his will has always
been reshaped by shifting historical experiences, national traditions and ideological currents. At the core of this project are the changing guiding conceptions of the postwar university, including the Bologna process.

At the core of this project are the changing guiding conceptions of the postwar university. Against the background of the current debate on the Bologna process, the conflicts between an older, Humboldtian tradition and other ideas of the university will be of particular interest. Even though the main focus will be on Germany, a comparison with Sweden is an integral part of the study.

Although Wilhelm von Humboldt has been a recurrent name in the debate on the foundations of the university for long time, his will has been opened for highly diverging interpretations. In recent years, new research has shown how Humboldt’s legacy always has been reshaped by shifting historical experiences, national traditions and ideological currents.

However, the overwhelming majority of this new research has been devoted to the 19th and early 20th century. The postwar era, by contrast, has so far been very superficially analyzed, despite the fact that the university underwent deep-seated transformations during this period. Consequently, this study will concentrate on the postwar era.

The analysis of the reinterpretations of the Humboldtian legacy will be centred around three particular university reforms: the early postwar period; the late 1960s; and the years around 2000. By combining intellectual and conceptual history, the major controversies are studied. To widen the analytical scoop, the final comparison with the development of higher education in Sweden will be crucial.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date2010/01/012012/12/31

Participants