The ghost in the classroom : Ernst Haeckel’s rhetoric of evolution and its reverberations in German biology texbooks (1925-1958).

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal


Evolution by natural selection defies the biblical account of Creation and puts man in his rightful place alongside all other animals. These were the thoughts of German zoologist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) and he successfully spread them. In the attempt to safeguard pupils from such heretic beliefs, biology was banned from secondary schools between 1882 and 1925. At the same time however, Haeckel became continental Europe’s leading evolutionists. The Ghost in the Classroom asks why Haeckel’s writings were so appealing to his audience and investigates weather this appeal survived in descriptions of evolution in biology textbooks written after 1925.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Wesseling, Elisabeth, Supervisor
  • Wachelder, Joseph, Co-Supervisor
  • de Bont, Raf, Co-Supervisor
Award date23 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Erns Haeckel
  • evolution

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