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Quetelet and his contemporaries lives on in the offices of Eurostat. The nineteenth century was replete with idealism – an idealism so deep-seated that it has outlived its usefulness in some respects. At the congress in The Hague in 1869, Jean Baptist Baron van Hugenpoth tot den Beerenclauw called the gathering ‘the tribunal Europe’.8 Italian politician and statistician Cesare Correnti went so far as to say that the international congress was ‘the prophecy of a European parliament’.9 In hindsight, this may seem to be a portentous statement: a lot of talking but few

in States and statistics in the nineteenth century

classically-idealising by Irmgard Kawohl. She points to this idea of Humboldt as being completely dominant during the first two decades of the twentieth century. Spranger’s unconditional appreciation of Humboldt reflected a passion for Classicism and German idealism. This is also true of Harnack and other representatives of this interpretation. In Humboldt they saw a perfect man, a harmonious and thoroughly exemplary figure. He embodied his own idea of Bildung.22 20  Friedrich Paulsen, Die deutschen Universitäten und das Universitätsstudium (Berlin, 1902); Friedrich Paulsen

in Humboldt and the modern German university

. At the same time, he referred explicitly to Wilhelm von Humboldt and invoked him as a model, among other things through detailed quotations from the manifesto of 1809/1810. Then as now, he said, Germans found themselves in the greatest distress; but owing to idealism and humanism, they 17  Mitchell G. Ash, ‘Verordnete Umbrüche, Konstruierte Kontinuitäten: Zur Entnazifizierung von Wissenschaftlern und Wissenschaften nach 1945’, Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, 43:10 (1995). Jan Eckel relates a story about Karl Brandi, a historian of the Middle Ages in

in Humboldt and the modern German university
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. Consequently, Schelsky argued, his project did not amount to writing the history of the university for its own sake; rather, it was a matter of highlighting a past that was still relevant. René König’s opinion from 1935 was still valid: ‘The idea of the university found in German idealism is the normative frame within which all German university reforms are drawn up.’ Schelsky wanted to approach the classic German university in order to find out what was still valid. That was the overarching goal of his investigation; but in order to achieve it, it was necessary to

in Humboldt and the modern German university

Columbia, named for the painter, and the Pauline Johnson Chapter named for the native Canadian poet. In an annual ceremony members placed daffodils, her favourite flower, on her monument in Stanley Park, and then took tea. 75 In their promotion of Anglo-Canadian identity, chapter names evoked a sense of idealism, of a romantic chivalry that extended to the dramatic idea of being a Daughter of the Empire

in Female imperialism and national identity
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and practice after 1940 was therefore a combination of idealism and exploitation. In the wake of the 1940 CDW Act, the Colonial Office made a commitment to the development of secondary industry in the Caribbean. L. J. Butler remains the only historian to have considered in any detail the Colonial Office’s policy for industrialisation. 28 His focus was on the drive for import-substitution industries in West Africa and no account exists of plans for the British Caribbean. Indeed, historians of the Caribbean generally deny that Britain ever had such a vision. The

in Science at the end of empire
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was drawn to the war by a belief that it was a noble cause in which a heroic generation was sacrificing itself for the good of all.32 It was only later that she realised that ‘naïve idealism … had been both the virtue and the fatal weakness of her generation’.33 Brittain herself commented in her later autobiography, Testament of Experience, that her experience in the ‘German Ward’ had set her on the path to pacifism and work for the League of Nations.34 In Testament of Youth, she recalled the vulnerability of her German prisoner-patients, and her sense of a common

in Nurse Writers of the Great War
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. The opinion of Habermas, quoting K. Reumann, was that ‘the assertion of unbroken fidelity to Humboldt is the existential self-deception of our universities’. This verdict, however, did not stop Habermas from devoting a large portion of his statement to scrutinising idealism and the ideas of the early 1960s.5 On the other hand, Habermas criticised theories of the kind employed by Niklas Luhmann, theories in which research and higher education merely became elements in a system and not part of the life-world. His own proposal for how the university should be adapted

in Humboldt and the modern German university
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Life and opinions

controls in the hope of keeping the Union financially buoyant and within the law, the mainly Conservative Executives of the later 1970s irritated Community Action by suggesting that it keep its paperwork in better order. One General Secretary, it was said, failed to realise ‘that you can’t ask someone who is prepared to stand in the street for three hours giving soup to homeless people to fill in forms in triplicate of how much soup they gave out and who to’. Idealism and accountancy did not mix. But Community Action held together somehow throughout the decade

in A history of the University of Manchester 1973–90
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its staff were young or middle-aged, it would suffer little if the University relied on natural wastage and early retirements, and other, more elderly departments would lose a great deal. Were the professors lacking in moral fibre, fearful of unpopularity, yielding to the threats being uttered by active members of the AUT, who were prominent in their department? For all this there was a kind of idealism in History’s actions, a desire to see law respected and not overridden by the claims of financial necessity, a conviction that imposing redundancies would destroy

in A history of the University of Manchester 1973–90