Organizing Impulses: Reframing Adventure as Global Knowledge for Young Readers in Precolonial Germany (1841–1862)

“The role of the educator is to rhythmize the soul to [moral] virtue.”1 This conclusion to his 1841 faculty address to the Königliche Realschule zu Berlin captures the spirit of Theodor Dielitz’s educational philosophy. As a teacher, Dielitz advocated systematic instruction about the real world to prepare students for a harmonious, moral life within the Prussian state.2 Beyond his classroom activities, he produced both Realschule textbooks and commercial youth-literary publications, works that he saw as complementary parts of his unified pedagogical vision. The connection between these production spheres is easy to overlook when traveling the well-worn paths of his reception as a mass-production author. Dielitz’s history and geography textbooks have long since been forgotten, but his nineteen-volume series of adventure anthologies—Images of Land and Sea (1841–1862)—enjoyed immediate and sustained success throughout the nineteenth century. It was through the Images of Land and Sea that I first encountered Theodor Dielitz.

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‘Will They Become Human?’ Romanies and Re-education Knowledge in Postwar Czechoslovakia

Romani children in a classroom with Czech children.

“We are building a socialist order for the happy present and future of today's and future generations.” This is what Václav Nosek, the Minister of the Interior, told his fellow party members at the beginning of the Ninth Congress of the Czechoslovak Communist Party in May 1949.1 His words exemplify how the formation of communist rule in Czechoslovakia (and elsewhere) was accompanied by the promise of a just order for all. And since, as it was said, “all people are equal in socialist society, whatever the color of their skin,”2 the situation of local Romanies was supposed to improve as well.

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Blogging Migrant Knowledge – Part II

Migrant knowledge is not so much a concept as it is a research agenda.1 It can foster work on what migrants know about their world, and it challenges us to think more about what societies, including states, know about migrants. In Part I of my reflections on our sister blog, Migrant Knowledge, I highlighted posts that focused on the knowledge of and about migrant children and youth. Here I turn to a rich set of posts that treat societal knowledge about migrants from the perspective of two elite groups, so to speak, the state and its agents, on the one hand, and scholars, here primarily historians, on the other hand. Two additional perspectives appear in these accounts: the entanglement of state knowledge about migrants with the knowledge that migrants develop about the state and its expectations, a big theme here, and the influence that scholarship can have on migration policy and outcomes.

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Knowledge Notes: Books and Archives

Check out "A Motherland of Books: An Essay by Maria Bloshteyn" at Punctured Lines, a blog devoted to "post-Soviet literature in and outside the former Soviet Union."

Written just before the war in Ukraine began, this essay elegizes the home libraries lovingly gathered and treasured by their owners in the Soviet era, these very libraries, with these very editions, that are being bombed today in Ukraine, along with their owners.

HT @YelenaFurman

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Editorial News

Mark Stoneman, one of our cofounders, is leaving the History of Knowledge editorial team. We would like to thank him for his years of engagement, and especially for all his hard work in helping us to conceive and launch the blog. Patricia “Casey” Sutcliffe, a longtime editor at the GHI Washington, will manage the blog going forward.

Learn more about his work on the blog in “Blogging Histories of Knowledge in Washington, D.C.” by Mark Stoneman and Kerstin von der Krone in “Digital History,” ed. Simone Lässig, special issue, Geschichte und Gesellschaft 47, no. 1 (2021): 163–74.

You can read Mark’s many posts on this blog in our archives.

Two Research Assistant Positions

The University of Konstanz has two 50% research assistant positions in the History of Knowledge / History of Alternative Education. Each position within the ERUA Research Group “Reimagining Higher Education and Research” runs until end of 2023 with a possible extension for an additional year, subject to availability of funds. Application deadline: March 31, 2022. 🔗 DETAILS

Indigenous Value Systems as Vessels for Knowledge: An Example from the Pacific Northwest

Wood sculpture of a salmon, whereby the lower half is a human child.

“It may safely be said,” wrote naturalist and U.S. Commissioner for Fisheries Spencer Fullerton Baird in 1878, “that wherever the white man plants his foot and the so-called civilization of a country is begun, inhabitants of the air, land, and the water, begin to disappear.” Particularly salmon at the heart of the thriving Pacific Northwest fishing industry were subject to this “fatal influence.” Baird’s warnings regarding overfishing and habitat destruction were among the earliest written accounts to caution against overexploiting the region’s resources. In other parts of the world, like northern Europe and Japan, it had long been “evident to every one how important it is to carry on the fisheries in accordance with certain well-defined rules based on a thorough knowledge of the nature and mode of life of the fish,” as Baird phrased it. He concluded that such knowledge was crucial for Americans, too, “if the future of the fisheries is not to be seriously endangered.”1 Today, salmon are at five percent of the abundance recorded at the beginning of the twentieth century, and the ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest is perhaps irreparably damaged.2

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Knowledge Notes

CALL: Dialogic Memories of the 1970-90s "Transitions" across the World: Current Practices and Possible Solidarities. This is an online component of the Memory Studies Association conference in Seoul this summer. organized by the working group on post-socialist and comparative memory studies within the framework of the research project Reconstituting Publics through Remembering Transitions. Event: July 11–11, 2022. Deadline: February 15, 2022, with notification by March 1.

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Blogging Migrant Knowledge – Part I

A lot of interesting material has been published over at Migrant Knowledge since its inception nearly three years ago. If the material could just as easily have found a home here, it was produced for our sister website as part of a specific research program linked to a broad network of scholars, on the one hand, and related research activities coordinated by the GHI’s Pacific Regional Office, on the other. The site’s conceptualization is different from ours, but its contributions deserve to be read by all who are interested in histories of knowledge. Indeed, we have occasionally crossposted on both blogs in order to point out this overlap.

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