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The adventure (sex)pedition: revisiting Kurt Hahn's educational aims

The adventure (sex)pedition: revisiting Kurt Hahn's educational aims Discourses celebrating Kurt Hahn's practical and intellectual contributions to the field of progressive education are ubiquitous. However, the centrality of sexuality in Hahn's educational aims is often misrecognized in contemporary accounts. The purpose of this paper is to provide an historical and historicized contextualization of Hahn's hypervigilance on young male sexuality as it pertained to his educational aims.Design/methodology/approachThis is an historical analysis of sexuality in Kurt Hahn's educational aims and practices. It draws on Hahn's own writings and speeches, coupled with documents from his students and colleagues, educational historians, German historians and historians of both world wars. The paper is informed by critical theory as well as critical approaches to gender, sexuality and pedagogy.FindingsContrary to contemporary accounts, Kurt Hahn was neither a liberal nor modernizing progressive educator, nor was he interested in generalized sexual repression. Hahn developed a homophobic pedagogy due to his belief that inside all young males were the latent capacities to either be homosexual or contribute societal value. His political-aristocratic allegiances, desire to identify and educate future ruling classes and fear homosexuality was the death of social value led to the use of adventure as a form of preemptive conversion therapy.Originality/valueThis paper links several historical threads and analyses to provide a unique vantage point for understanding the origins of adventure as pedagogical intervention and Kurt Hahn's aims of education. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

The adventure (sex)pedition: revisiting Kurt Hahn's educational aims

History of Education Review , Volume 49 (1): 14 – Jun 30, 2020

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/her-08-2019-0031
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Discourses celebrating Kurt Hahn's practical and intellectual contributions to the field of progressive education are ubiquitous. However, the centrality of sexuality in Hahn's educational aims is often misrecognized in contemporary accounts. The purpose of this paper is to provide an historical and historicized contextualization of Hahn's hypervigilance on young male sexuality as it pertained to his educational aims.Design/methodology/approachThis is an historical analysis of sexuality in Kurt Hahn's educational aims and practices. It draws on Hahn's own writings and speeches, coupled with documents from his students and colleagues, educational historians, German historians and historians of both world wars. The paper is informed by critical theory as well as critical approaches to gender, sexuality and pedagogy.FindingsContrary to contemporary accounts, Kurt Hahn was neither a liberal nor modernizing progressive educator, nor was he interested in generalized sexual repression. Hahn developed a homophobic pedagogy due to his belief that inside all young males were the latent capacities to either be homosexual or contribute societal value. His political-aristocratic allegiances, desire to identify and educate future ruling classes and fear homosexuality was the death of social value led to the use of adventure as a form of preemptive conversion therapy.Originality/valueThis paper links several historical threads and analyses to provide a unique vantage point for understanding the origins of adventure as pedagogical intervention and Kurt Hahn's aims of education.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 30, 2020

Keywords: Kurt Hahn; Outward bound; Experiential education; Adventure education; German history; Progressive education; Homophobic pedagogies; Critical pedagogy; Sexuality; Conversion therapy

References