Although it is well known that Walter Benjamin played a leading role in the antebellum German Youth Movement, withdrawing from the presidency of the Berlin Independent Students Association and from other reformist activities only with the onset of World War I, scholars often do not ask whether this multifaceted student activism had any effect on his later thought and writing. This dossier proposes to investigate the early writings on youth and educational reform and their discernible afterlife in the better known historical-materialist phase of Benjamin’s career, including his writings on radio, film, children’s literature, and children’s theater, as well as his studies of Franz Kafka and Bertolt Brecht. The introduction provides brief summaries of the ten articles comprising the dossier and their relation to one another, and it addresses the question of the relevance of Benjamin’s ideas on education to contemporary debates concerning pedagogy.
Matthew Charles, Howard Eiland; Introduction. boundary 2 1 May 2018; 45 (2): 1–10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-4380970
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