The Reformation in European Historical Cultures. Prospects for History Teaching

The conference delegates will explore whether protestant and catholic interpretations of the Reformation are still discernible in current western European historical cultures. Is Martin Luther still tendentiously portrayed in the spirit of Hegel as “the first modern man” and is the Reformation depicted as a triumph and as the birth of modernity which enabled man to conquer the so-called Dark Ages? Or is Luther still unequivocally described as an apostate who, in combination with other eloquent Protestant reformers, destroyed the unity of the occidental community which in turn led to bloody religious wars and created a schism in Western Christianity that persists to this day? Or have other discourses, such as those of more progressive, national or European orientation, been comprehensively superimposed upon portrayals of the Reformation in the meantime.

The intensified critical academic discourse on the Reformation anticipated as a result of the “Martin Luther decade”, and particularly the commemoration of the Reformation in 2017, provides an opportunity from which future history books should profit; especially in light of the paradigm shift in history teaching in the last 15 years towards encouraging historical thinking, which has necessitated new approaches to historical topics.

When and where

  • 12 and 13 February 2016 in the conference room of the Georg Eckert Institute,
    Celler Straße 3, 38114 Braunschweig, Germany


  • There are no fees for registration or participation in the conference, however we would request, for ease of organisation, that you inform Stefan Zülch by e-mail ( by 5 February 2016 if you would like to attend.
  • The event is open to all interested parties from schools and academia and the field of education policy.

The conference “The Reformation in European historical cultures. Prospects for history teaching” (Die Reformation in europäischen Geschichtskulturen. Perspektiven für den Geschichtsunterricht) is jointly organised by Dr Roland Bernhard from the University of Education in Salzburg, Dr Felix Hinz from Paderborn University and Dr Robert Maier from the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook research.

Conference programme

(Speeches will be delivered in German)

Friday 12.02.2016

  • 1 p.m. PD Dr Sandra Mass (Deputy Director of the GEI, Braunschweig)
    Welcoming address and official conference start

  • 1.15 p.m. Dr Roland Bernhard (PH Salzburg), Dr Felix Hinz (Paderborn Uni.)
    and Dr Robert Maier (GEI Braunschweig)
    Introduction to the conference

  • 2 p.m. Prof. Wolfgang Hasberg (University of Cologne)
    Mythos Reformation. Epochenwende im Licht der Dunkelheitsmetapher

  • 2.45 p.m. Dr Susanne Claußen (Büro für Religionen und Kulturen, Wiesbaden)
    Perspektiven auf Luther im „Bibliorama“ - das Bibelmuseum

  • 3.30 p.m. Dr Jörg Füllgrabe (University of Frankfurt/Main)
    Das Bauernkriegspanorama von Bad Frankenhausen

  • 4.15 p.m. Break ----------------

  • 5 p.m. Dr Roland Bernhard (PH Salzburg)
    Lernende selbstständig denken lassen: Normative Triftigkeit bei der Behandlung von religiösen Konflikten im Geschichtsunterricht und Geschichtsschulbüchern in Österreich

  • 5.45 p.m. Dr Felix Hinz (Paderborn Uni.)
    Konfessionskritische Deutungsmuster der Reformation in aktuellen deutschen Lehrplänen und Schulgeschichtsbüchern: Sachsen-Anhalt und Bayern im Vergleich

  • 6.30 p.m. Kerstin Lochon-Wagner (Bochum)
    Darstellung des US-amerikanischen Protestantismus in deutschen Schulgeschichtsbüchern

Saturday 13.02.2016

  • 9 a.m. Dr Robert Maier (GEI, Braunschweig)
    Die Reformation in russischen Schulgeschichtsbüchern

  • 9.45 a.m. Dr Sven Tode (Flensburg Uni.)
    Die Reformation in polnischen Schulgeschichtsbüchern

  • 10.30 a.m. break ----------------

  • 10.45 a.m. Prof. Dr Zdeněk Beneš (Univerzita Karlova v Praze/Karls-Univ. Prag)
    Die Reformation in tschechischen Geschichtsschulbüchern

  • 11.30 a.m. Dr Zrinka Stimac (GEI, Braunschweig)
    Religion - Sprache - Politik. Reformation in ausgewählten Schulbüchern Südosteuropas

  • 12.15 p.m. lunch break ----------------

  • 1.30 p.m. Prof. Luigi Cajani (GEI, Braunschweig)
    Die protestantische Reformation in italienischen Geschichtsschulbücher

  • 2.15 p.m. Prof. Arie Wilschut (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences)
    Niederländische Perspektiven auf die Reformation und die nationale Vergangenheit

  • 3 p.m. break ----------------

  • 3.30 p.m. Dr Helene Albers (Paderborn Uni.)
    Luthers Judenfeindschaft - Ein blinder Fleck der  Reformationsgeschichte im Schulbuch?"

  • 4.15 p.m. Dr Norbert Köster (Münster Uni.)
    Das Leben der Anderen. Die Konzeption des Kapitels 'Reformation' in einem katholischen Unterrichtswerk zur Kirchengeschichte

  • 5 p.m. Dr Richard Janus (Paderborn Uni.)
    Die Reformation in aktuellen historischen Romanen

  • 5.45 p.m. closing discussion

  • 6.15 p.m. conference ends