Geographical education in the eighteenth-century German-speaking territories

Luise Fischer, Charles W. J. Withers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines debates over the nature, purpose, and reform of geographical education in schools in the eighteenth-century German-speaking territories. Attention is paid to contemporaries’ concerns over the cognitive content of geography – what geography was – and, in greater detail, to their views concerning how the subject might be taught, its teaching improved, and the end in view of teaching it, namely to produce informed citizens. The paper shows that while there was widespread agreement over the utility of geography, opinions differed over how best to teach it, and to whom. These differences centred less on religion, between the largely Catholic southern German territories and the chiefly Protestant northern German territories, and more upon the age, social status, gender, and intended future of the pupil. Proposals for the reform of geographical education argued that geography be taught first with reference to the pupil’s locality and to notions of “homeland” from which local setting attention would be paid to other states, countries, and continents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
JournalPaedagogica Historica
Early online date1 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Feb 2021


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