Department of Culture and Learning


Invitation to international seminar hosted by Policy Futures (DPU) and CfU followed by a reception for Professor Mette Buchardt

CfU and the DPU research program, Policy Futures (led by associate professor Katja Brøgger), are proud to host an international seminar on September 29 at Aalborg University Copenhagen. With Thomas Popkewitz as the keynote and a theme of education politics and hidden Cold War schemes as the treat, attendees are in for a treat followed by a celebratory reception for professor and head of CfU, Mette Buchardt due to her 25 years of being a civil servant.

Last modified: 16.08.2021



International seminar hosted by Policy Futures (Danish School of Education, Aarhus University) and Centre for Education Policy Research (Aalborg University)

Education Politics and Hidden Cold War Schemes at present. The past in the present educational directions international and nationally

Wednesday September 29, 2021, 13.30-17.30
A. C. Meyer’s Vænge 15, Ground floor (1), room 1.001a + 1.001b (the conference hall)


13:30-13.45: Opening

Professor Mette Buchardt, Head of Centre for Education Policy Research, Aalborg University

Director of the Policy Futures-research program, DPU Assoc. Professor Katja Brøgger, Aarhus University


13.45-15:00: Keynote inkl. Short Q&A:

Professor Thomas S. Popkewitz, University of Wisconsin, Madison:

How Contemporary Educational Sciences Became Reasonable: The Transnational Sciences Related in Education In The Post War World Two Years


The history of the social and psychological sciences is interesting, not only as the past but in their intersections in the present.  Given shape in the cosmopolitanism of American and European Enlightenments, the objects of the reasoning of science are refashioned in the 19th century North American and European Social Question.  The sciences were comparative internally, concerned with governing of the urban poor and “deviant” populations in industrialization, immigration, and unrestrained capitalism.  They were mobile, folds that traveled and (re)visioned in a globalization of the arts of governing in care of people- today thought of as modern welfare states. 

The lecture focuses on the transnational infrastructures related to the sciences of educational in the post war Two decades.  It examines the systems of reason that codified and calculated experience in which society and population were viewed as “data” of experimental laboratories (R&D).  Mass observations through interviews, sample surveys and ethnographies produced new spaces for action. These included  studies of classrooms, families, childhood, community, and “political cultures”.  The knowledge was affective; anticipatory of a future to be activated.  It was comparative, embodying double gestures: hopes that simultaneously inscribed fears of dangerous populations.  The comparativeness was internal and external in creating Others, the latter often signified epochally as The Cold War.

Drawn from the new release The Post-World War Two International Educational Sciences: Quantification, Visualization and Making Kinds of People, the entanglement of different historical lines and spaces of the post war infrastructure are naturalized today in grids of contemporary educational research concerned with change.


15:00-15:20: Break


15.20-17:20: Shorter presentations (of 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes Q & A):

- Research Associate, Viktoria Boretska, Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH), University of Luxembourg:

The imperative of scientificity in education during the times of the Soviet state reconstructions



Be it the post-Stalin era of the rebuilding of the Soviet Union (1953-1964) or the post-Soviet rebuilding of Russia, the periods of regime change and reconstruction were inextricably linked to the search for certainties and the somehow always newly found panacea of science. The ever rising promotion of science, scientific method and scientific fact was to seemingly compensate for the shaky foundations of political and social orders. In this presentation, I will explore how the holy grail of science and scientific method has become an imperative for the field of education throughout those periods of change - education, responsible for producing new kinds of educated subjects. Along with this, it will be discussed that these processes of scientification, despite the assumed universality of the meaning, were neither monolithic nor ahistorical.


- Director of the Policy Futures research program, DPU Assoc. Professor Katja Brøgger, Aarhus University:

Post-Cold-War governance arrangements in Europe: Bypassing or asserting the nation in higher education policy?



This presentation explores how the current virulent calls for a return to the homogenous Nation may be turning the tables with regards to the prospects and promises of European integration through education. In many ways, the post-Cold War EU-driven efforts to create a joint European Higher Education Area constitutes an era of unprecedented internationalization of higher education. Through soft governance mechanisms the EU aimed to forge a European identity. Meanwhile, currently we are witnessing how the rise of neo-nationalism has started to erode the harmonization of European higher education systems, which reveals a profound conflict between European federal harmonization and nation-building. 


- Professor WSR John Krejsler, Policy Futures, DPU, Aarhus University:

Transnational European Mobilization as a Producer of Global Effects: Exploring the outbound performative effects of European education policy



This presentation maps the genealogy of how a transnational truth regime is produced in a Northern region that produces global impact, and is, simultaneously, a projection of 'Western soft power' in a Cold War and post-Cold War context. With references to the OECD, EU, the Bologna Process and IEA, it is common to observe the transnational turn in European education policy with an inward-looking perspective that emphasizes effects on European nation states and European integration. This presentation highlights the often forgotten effects of these processes in producing formats that travel globally.


- Professor Mette Buchardt, Centre for Education Policy Research, Aalborg University:

The Education Politics of ‘Real Life’ and the Quest for Social Usefulness. Cold War Reform Processes in the Nordic Welfare-Nation-States in past and present



In Danish education-political debate at present, dannelse – a concept deriving from the German Bildung but with its own contextual connotations and histories – seems to be mobilized as a symbol recalling Nordic cultural democratic and Folk-Protestant traditions and Nordic educational progressivism. The social history of “dannelse” as an applied concept in the Danish education system is, however, complicated. The presentation elucidates this history, focusing on how national Protestantism became part of social engineering efforts in the Cold War education reform processes during the 1950s-1960s, aiming at replacing “dannelse” with a focus on “real life” in the crafting of welfare-state education policies. Here the “treat” and inspiration from of other states in the East- as well as the West block and the allegedly changed conditions in “the atomic and hydrogen world” was a key feature and argument for change.


17.20-17.30: Summing up


Arranged by

Director and Assoc. Professor Katja Brøgger, the Policy Futures-research program, Danish School of Education - DPU, Aarhus University and

Professor Mette Buchardt, Centre for Education Policy Research, Department of Culture and Learning, Aalborg University, and

Let us know you are coming for the seminar, by sending an e-mail to Nanna Ramsing Enemark at



Reception: Professor Mette Buchardt’s 25-year anniversary as a civil servant

Wednesday September 29, 2021, 17.30-19:30
A. C. Meyer’s Vænge 15, Ground floor (1), room 1.001a + 1.001b (the conference hall)

Aalborg University invites you to a reception in honor of Professor Mette Buchardt’s 25-year anniversary as a civil servant in the Danish state. While her anniversary was during lockdown, this traditional celebration will take place immediately after the international seminar. Mette Buchardt is a Professor and Head of Centre for Education Policy Research (CfU), Department of Culture & Learning, Aalborg University. Her research comprises the interdisciplinary field of education policy history and welfare state history, including the educational crafting of welfare nation states across Europe and the role of migration and secularization. Buchardt has published extensively on the history of schooling and the European welfare states. She has e.g. authored the first history on migrant students and the Danish welfare state school “Kulturforklaring: Uddannelseshistorier om muslimskhed” [Culture as explanation. Education histories about Muslimness” (2016), and has recently contributed to Bloombury’s six volume work on the Cultural History of Education on the role of Church, religion and morality (2020).

There will be served seltzer, wine and a light dinner at the reception.

Sign up for the reception through this link:

Deadline for signing up is September 14, 2021 at 12:00.

For inquiries, please contact Nanna Ramsing Enemark at