The Georg Eckert Institute (GEI) conducts international, multidisciplinary and application-oriented research into school textbooks and educational media, centring on approaches drawn from historical and cultural studies. The institute’s primary interest is in structures of knowledge and models for identification presented and transmitted to school students via state education. Current foci of the institute’s research include representations of Europe in textbooks, the manner in which educational media engage with two key issues of our day – religion and globalisation – and the relationship between textbooks and conflict. Overarching issues which permeate throughout the institute’s work include constructions of self and other, cultural processes of translation, and practices of cultural memory as they are reflected in educational media.
The Georg Eckert Institute works in an advisory capacity with national and international policymakers and practitioners in education, coordinates bilateral commissions on textbooks, and draws up recommendations on how educational media can help deconstruct images whose effect is to demonise a posited “enemy” – vital work in areas hit by crisis and conflict.
As a non-university institution which conducts research and provides research infrastructure, the Georg Eckert Institute is evolving into an international centre of excellence and expertise in scholarly enquiry into textbooks. Its research library, which holds a unique international collection of textbooks and is currently adding religious education to its focal subjects, draws academics from around the world. The Institute’s mission of providing information and forging interconnections in research into educational media as informed by cultural studies is further served by the information and communication gateway Edumeres.net, an online platform which publishes textbook reviews, documents developments in the field and supplies access to a virtual research environment.
The University of Göttingen and the GEI view their cooperation as of great benefit to both parties, each of which complements the other's research portfolio, and as a significant boost to research and teaching in Lower Saxony.