Skip to main content

Nisrine Rahal

A Garden of Children and the Education of Citizens: The German Kindergarten Movement from 1837-1880

My dissertation follows the German kindergarten movement from 1837 to 1880 in Bad Blankenburg, Berlin, Hamburg, and Leipzig. Within these locations I explore two developments. First, I analyze the major kindergartens opened by activists to demonstrate how the institution became a site of entangled histories of emancipation. I emphasize within my work that it was the bodies of women and children that were the defining sites where ideals of a free pluralistic tolerant society would emerge. Bodies of women and children united Jewish and Gentile activists from across political camps and it was their bodies that the state would utilize within this institution. Second, I note the ways following the history of the kindergarten also allows for a path to studying state development and power. This is particularly the case within my analysis of the ways the state responded to the movement during the 1840s and 1850s.