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European Universities from the Enlightenment to 1914$
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R. D. Anderson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206606

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206606.001.0001

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Enlightened Reform

Enlightened Reform

Chapter:
(p.20) 2 Enlightened Reform
Source:
European Universities from the Enlightenment to 1914
Author(s):

R. D. Anderson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206606.003.0002

The Enlightenment is often seen as a movement which bypassed the moribund universities. This is a plausible view for England and France, but should be challenged for other countries. In Scotland, Holland, and Italy, for example, it was university professors who developed and taught enlightened ideas. This chapter emphasizes the beginnings of reform in Germany, notably at Göttingen, from which innovation spread to other parts of Germany and to the Habsburg empire. ‘Enlightened absolutism’ there, and in countries like Italy and Portugal, remodelled universities with the aim of producing an efficient bureaucracy, recruited to some extent on grounds of merit rather than birth. Curricula were reformed to incorporate modern and utilitarian subjects. In Spain, however, the efforts of reforming rulers and enlightened intellectuals had more limited results. We should be cautious, in any case, about linking enlightened reform with ‘bourgeois’ social interests.

Keywords:   Enlightenment, Scotland, Holland, Italy, Göttingen, Habsburg empire, Portugal, Spain

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