Associate Professor Kelly J. Whitmer has been awarded a three-month fellowship by the Marbach Weimar Wolfenbüttel (MWW) Research Association (http://www.mww-forschung.de/en/). The association “represents an alliance between three key centers of humanities research” in Europe—the German Literature Archive Marbach, the Klassik Stiftung Weimar and the Herzog August Library Wolfenbüttel—and is made possible thanks to funding by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
The fellowship will enable Dr. Whitmer to be a “scholar in residence” next summer (2018) at the Herzog August Library (http://www.hab.de/en/home.html), a key scholarly venue for the study of early modern history.
Whitmer’s ongoing research project focuses on the role of personal investment (including empathy and imagination) in efforts to expand the “useful sciences” and “innovation culture” in early modern central Europe. It looks at how instructional manuals, project sketches, object-based pedagogies (Realienunterricht) and collecting strategies were adapted for use among various professional groups, educators, project-makers and political economists, all of whom were advocating for more sustained attention to methods of acquiring and knowing use by the turn of the eighteenth century. The project also considers the role of young people in these sketches and descriptions of new teaching techniques. It focuses on the stories of three child prodigies who were very well known in their lifetimes but who have been little studied by scholars.