Reading Agency: The Making of Modern German Childhoods, 1770-1850
Emily Bruce

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of Minnesota

Primary Discipline

This dissertation investigates German children?s reading around 1800. Pedagogical innovations, the development of book markets, and rising bourgeois domesticity made German-speaking Central Europe a key site for reimagining childhood. Historians have demonstrated that preoccupation with the condition of children?s lives is a driving force in the modern world. To better understand children?s roles, we need studies which combine the history of changing ideology with the history of children?s lived experience. This is an analysis of children?s reading practices through marginalia, school & publication records, and other archival materials. It is organized as case studies in genres written for children: periodicals, folktales, and geography textbooks. I will bring multidisciplinary concerns from childhood studies to bear on compelling historical materials from German archives, offering a cross-cultural perspective on changes in literacy education which impact educational discourse today.
About Emily Bruce

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