Research

© Klinkhardt

The Center is presently researching the early history of the German-American cultural exchange regarding educational systems. In tandem with the annual conference of the German Society for 18th Century Studies (DGEJ), Catholic Enlightenment in Europe and North America,—which the Center will host this year—our focus will especially touch on the possibilities and limits of developing a Catholic educational system in the early years of the United States. Investigating this theme therefore provides us with an interesting and exciting research field that, although obviously distant from contemporary religious and political debates, nevertheless uncovers very similar conflicts in the eighteenth century. It provides context for questions about various issues, including encounters with religious minorities, immigration, and the perception of other cultures.

Some of our current research projects are published in the series "Studies in German-American Educational History". The series’ first volume, New Perspectives on German-American Educational History, was published in early 2017. It contains contributions to the first lecture series of the 2015 summer semester, "German-American Educational History: Topics, Trends, Fields of Research". A second lecture series for the summer semester 2018 is currently in the planning stages. This lecture series will examine the educational aspects of theater, radio, film, and television within the context of the German-American cultural exchange and has the working title "The Educational Agenda of German-American Drama" (Research Projects). The lecture series will, as an English-language event, showcase current research projects and early research findings from both German and international researchers. The lecture series sets the stage for a measured analysis of this research topic for German-American educational history, and also provides an impetus for further interdisciplinary examination of this topic.

Among many research methods and methodological points of view, the Center is especially concerned with "New Historicism", the Berkeley and Harvard-inspired methodological approach which can lend momentum to historical writing, particularly that concerned with educational history.