Nisrine Rahal, A Real Battlefield for Emancipation: The Hamburg Kindergarten Movement 1849-1852 (Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars)

Race, Ethics + Power: Emerging Scholars

A Real Battlefield for Emancipation: The Hamburg Kindergarten Movement 1849-1852

From 1849 to 1852 a network of kindergartens were opened in the German port city of Hamburg. These kindergartens were funded and supported by the dissenting German-Catholic Congregation (established in the city in 1847), the Women’s Association to Support the German-Catholics, the Social Association for the Reconciliation of Confessional Differences, and the Women’s Association to Support Poor Welfare. These associations and the dissenting congregation provided the space for a new women’s activism that was centered on essentialized feminine characteristics such as maternal love and care. Love for these associations united women across religious lines and was essential for the project of social and cultural reform not only in the city-state but also for humanity. This love needed to be cultivated and practiced in educational and welfare institutions for the benefit of all of society. The kindergarten, these activists believed, was the ideal location for this love and care.  My presentation will focus on unpacking these associations and their support for the kindergarten in Hamburg. It will shed light on the new language of rights, women’s activism, and religious freedom that characterized the movement for the kindergarten during the revolutionary 1840s and early 1850s in German-Speaking Europe.

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This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel on Thursday, January 28. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream. (For other events in the series, and to subscribe, visit

Nisrine Rahal is a doctoral candidate at the Department of History at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation, A Garden of Children and the Education of Citizens: The German Kindergarten Movement from 1837 to 1880 examines the early children’s education institution as a social reformist movement tied to the revolutionary 1840s. Her dissertation project follows the movement as a way to examine histories of social reform, gender, liberalism, and state power. Between June 2017 and March 2018, she was a doctoral fellow at the Leibniz Institute of European History. She also held a Leo Baeck Fellowship between October 2015 and October 2016. Her project received support from the Central European History Society, the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, and the Bibliothek für Bildungsgeschichtliche Forschung (BBF) des Deutschen Instituts für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung (DIPF).

Nisrine Rahal
University of Toronto

Thu, Jan 28, 2021
04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
200 Larkin