Meritocracy, Education Reform and the Concept of Talent in Post-war West Germany and Japan

November 21, 2019 6:00 PM (finished)

Jeremy Breaden

(Monash University)

Date/Time November 21, 2019 6:00 PM
Location Room 549 5th floor, Akamon Sogo Kenkyuto Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo  [map]
Abstract This seminar explores how notions of 'talent' were operationalised in education reform in post-war West Germany and Japan. It traces the development of selection mechanisms based on the discovery and measurement of talent, which in both countries held out the promise of fundamental social transformation while at the same time facilitating the entrenchment of pre-existing social and political orders. The seminar is part of a larger study on how meritocratic ideas fostered political legitimacy and social cohesion in democratic societies after World War II.
Bio Jeremy Breaden is a Senior Lecturer and Convenor of the Japanese Studies Program in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Faculty of Arts at Monash University. His research interests include education reform and international student mobility in Japan and East Asia. He is the author of Articulating Asia in Japanese Higher Education (Routledge, 2016) and is currently finalising a new monograph about family-run educational corporations in Japan. Michael Hau is a historian of Germany and the history of medicine, the body, and modern bio-politics, and Senior Lecturer in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Faculty of Arts at Monash University. His published works include The Cult of Health and Beauty in Germany. A Social History, 1890-1930 (University of Chicago Press, 2003) and Performance Anxiety: Sport and Work in Germany from the Empire to Nazism (University of Toronto Press, 2014).