Year of Graduation
The Consrution of Past: University Anniversaries in the German Empire in the Late 19th and in the Early 20th Century
Faculty of History
The paper focuses on the strategies and methods of the invention of university past withing the anniversaries held in the German Empire in the Late 19th and in the Early 20th Century. The anniversaries of Tübingen (1877), Leipzig (1909) and Berlin (1910) universities are chosen as the objects of analysis. The period of each anniversary is divided into three phases: preparations, ceremonies, publishing jubilee narratives.The sources of the research: the documents of jubilee commissions from the archives of Berlin, Leipzig and Tübingen universities, jubilee speeches, greetings, newspaper articles, jubilee programs, and the texts of university histories. Conclusions: 1) university jubilee was a public space where the interests of different groups are intersected, e.g. university and political power. The state was regarded as a keeper and guardian of the German universities. Thus, shaping university historical image was not only a self-representation of academic community, but also a legitimization of the monarchy; 2) each university focused only on its own past, avoided to mention other academic institutions and did not refer to any national system or model of higher education; 3) the centenary of Berlin university in 1910 was a key moment in the invention of the “Humboldt myth”. Eduard Spranger and Max Lenz wrote about Humboldt as a founder of German higher education; 4) the state bureaucracy contributed to the process of preparing jubilee histories. The jubilee narrative can be regarded as an attempt to write a “total history” of university with two main levels of narration: micro- and macrohistory.