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אירוע // מפגש: אוניברסיטאות גרמניות ואוסטריות בפרספקטיבה היסטורית ועכשווית (מיטשל אש) (סדרת מעברים) [מקוון] 16.12.21

כתובת ההודעה: https://www.hum-il.com/message/1121121/

The academia: a local history from a global, cultural and comparative perspective


You are kindly invited to our talk with  Prof. Mitchell G. Ash  on German and Austrian Universities in Historical and Contemporary Perspective: Mythos Humboldt   Monday, 16 december 2021. 15.00 pm CET; 16.00 pm Jerusalem time.

zoom link here

For many years it has been routine to use the name of Wilhelm von Humboldt, the primary founder of the University of Berlin in 1810, as a label for "the German university“ and the University of Berlin in turn as "the mother of all research universities“ (Charles McClelland 2018). Such references to Humboldt are mythical in a specific sense – they point to an origin story that helps establish what is now called "corporate identity“. In these remarks I attempt to sketch out a rather different story, in three parts. In part one I suggest that the University of Berlin had many founders and that the German (and Austrian) research university actually emerged in the second half of the 19th century – with results that would have surprised Humboldt.  In part two I will briefly discuss the mythical apotheosis of "Humboldt“ around the turn of the twentieth century, the betrayal of this mythical ideal in the Nazi era, and the two versions of "Humboldt“ that emerged in West and East Germany after 1945. Finally, I will sketch the paradoxical situation of German (and Austrian) universities in the late 20th and early 21st centuries: The name "Humboldt“ became an all-purpose label just when the ideal he advanced – the unity of teaching and research – was becoming increasingly dysfunctional in the context of mass higher education. "Humboldt the undead“ continues to walk the Earth, because today’s "entrepreneurial“ university has no inspiring ideal to replace it. Whether current catchwords like "gender balance,“ "diversity,“ or "globality“ can resolve this dilemma remains to be seen.

Mitchell G. Ash (Ph.D. Harvard University) is Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the University of Vienna, Austria. He is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. Before his appointment to Vienna in 1997, he taught German history and history of science from 1984 to 1997 at the University of Iowa. Ash was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin 1990-1991, and has held visiting professorships or research appointments at the Free University of Berlin, the University of Göttingen, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of California at Berkeley, Princeton University and the Max-Planck-Institute for History of Science in Berlin. He is author or editor of 19 books and more than 160 articles and chapters focusing on the sciences and universities in political, social and cultural contexts in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the history of human-animal relations and the history of the human sciences. He is currently working on a major research project entitled “Scientific and Political Regime Changes in Germany and Austria, 1918, 1933/38, 1945 and 1990”.

Research and teaching in academia have a local and global history. What is it precisely? And how could we make it a part of our professional world? These are the question that we intend to answer in this series. Our series is developed as part of maavarim program to promote, enrich, deepen, and expand the academic research in Israel. It is also aimed at a broader and more comprehensive construction of the “academic citizenship.” Construction that is not done within the existing institutional framework.

the project of the history of the Hebrew University on its four volumes is available here. The fifth volume will be published soon.

The target audience for this series is the younger generation (members of Maavarim), the present generation, and the founding generation.

You can receive ongoing updates about series activities by subscribing to maavarim network. All of maavarim meetings are uploaded to our  youtube channel which you are welcome to subscribe to.  the series playlist is also available for your use.

The upcoming events list for the coming months is available on the  academic history series page  page on maavarim website. I’ll be happy to receive suggestions for additional


With regards

Prof. David Levi-Faur.

On behalf of maavarim project participants

* (סדרתמעברים)

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