Conference of the History of Education Section of the German Association of Educational Science 2009

September 21-23, 2009

Call for Papers for the 2009 Annual Conference of the History of Education Section of the German Association of Educational Science

The Materiality of Education: On the Cultural and Social History of
Paedagogical Objects

Dates: September 21-23, 2009


Venue: Archives of German Literature, Marbach
Conference Organizers: Karin Priem (University of Education, Schwäbisch
Gmünd), Rita Casale (University of Zurich), Gudrun M. König (TU Dortmund


The historical research on the 'materiality of educationâ' has led to a
rediscovery of the 'laboratory' of education and to those objects that
possess or are said to possess educational purpose or effect.

In the history of education and in pedagogical anthropology, things have
consistently played an important role. In Emile (1762), Rousseau wrote
that things educate us by 'what we gain by our experience of our
surroundings' and by means of perception. According to Walter Benjamin
(1950), the forces inherent in places and objects shape and define our
experience, which he described impressively in his Berlin Childhood
around 1900. Langeveld (1956) points in a similar direction with his
comments on the 'stimulative nature of things.' In his Studien zur
Anthropologie des Kindes (Studies on the Anthropology of the Child), he
uses the term 'thing characteristics' and emphasizes that people feel a
strong connection to objects with a 'stimulative nature.' Klaus
Mollenhauer (1987) has emphasized the significance of things for
pedagogical theory. Apart from form, function and meaning, which also
play a key role in the cultural studies research on things, Mollenhauer
mentions another aspect of thing analysis: for him, things are
'perceptual contents' that leave a 'trace in one's organism.' Käte
Meyer-Drawe (1999), too, argues that things evoke 'our ways of
perceiving, talking, acting and thinking.' From a cultural sociologist's
perspective, Pierre Bourdieu (1979) points in a similar direction: in
his view, things are means of producing social difference; they mark our
position in social space and determine our habitus. In his 'essay in
symmetrical anthropology,' Bruno Latour (1991) delineates a way to
reconnect the object world with the social world epistemologically.
There are many other examples, such as Michel Foucault (1975) on the
question of the connection between objects, technologies and bodily
discipline, and, in literary studies, an anthology on the Materiality of
Communications, edited by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht and K. Ludwig Pfeiffer
(1988). Friedrich Wolfram Heubach's Das bedingte Leben (The Conditional
Life) (1987) takes a psychological approach to this subject.

In the history of education, the subject of the 'materiality of
education' has recently been considered from a variety of perspectives,
including studies on the form and function of school buildings and their
furnishings on the production of and consumption history of toys and on
the design of special objects and foods for children. Things, objects
and instruments as basic materials of cultural analysis offer approaches
to a cultural history of the social sphere. All in all, these approaches
mark a turn to historical anthropology and to a cultural history of
pedagogical processes and processes of social distinction, as has
already been initiated in the history of everyday life and the history
of mentalities. From the perspective of educational and pedagogical
history, these approaches open up a wide range of themes that go far
beyond the above-mentioned examples. These include, for example, the
meaning of mementoes in autobiographical reflection, the importance of
dietary rules and the tools and instruments for cultivating the body,
the role of furniture and clothes as conveyors of meaning (e.g. as signs
of generational and social belonging) and means of disciplining, and the
centrality of didactic materials and museum exhibits for educational

We would like to receive papers on the following topics:

Things as an extension of education: cultivation of the body and social
distinction through objects

- Food culture: foods and meals
- Tools: writing and painting utensils, rulers, etc.
- Books, pictures, musical instruments and other educational materials
- Clothes (e.g. student and teacher)
- Furniture and architecture of educational institutions
- Things as educational helpers: punishing and rewarding objects, toys

Things as biographical objects: mementoes and conveyors of meaning

- Things in autobiographies
- Things in the family, such as children and teen portraits
- Things in (amateur) films on children growing up

The musealization of pedagogy: representations of the material culture
of education

- Teaching collections
- School museums
- Dioramas and models
- Museum exhibits as pedagogical objects

Please submit a half-page abstract to one of the following addresses no
later than November 28, 2008:

Dr. Rita Casale, Pädagogisches Institut, Universität Zürich, Freie
Strasse 36, CH-8032 Zürich,

Prof. Dr. Gudrun M. König, Institut für Kunst u. Materielle Kultur, TU
Dortmund University, Emil-Figge-Str. 50, D-44227 Dortmund,

Prof. Dr. Karin Priem, Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft, PH
Schwäbisch Gmünd Oberbettringer Str. 200, D-73525 Schwäbisch Gmünd,

Notification of acceptance or rejection will be sent out in late May

Prof. Dr. Karin Priem
PH Schwäbisch Gmünd
Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft
E-Mail: <>

URL zur Zitation dieses Beitrages
Rainer Brämer M.A.
Institut für Geschichte, Theorie und Ethik der Medizin
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September 21-23, 2009