Willem Koops, born in Noorddijk, the Netherlands, in 1944. Ph.D. from the University of Groningen. Professor of Developmental Psychology at the VU University, Amsterdam.
Fellow (1 September 1997 – 30 June 1998)
During this year I had the opportunity to experience intellectual freedom, to work within a unique intellectual environment, detached from everyday academic obligations. First of all this resulted in the finalising of several tasks that were long overdue.
Secondly I concentrated (after two months) fully on the research theme of the nucleus “Historical Developmental Psychology”. The discussion within this group revised much of my original ideas on the significance of the history of childhood for developmental psychology. In particular my hypothesis that developmental thinking and developmental research has contributed heavily to the infantilisation of children (and adolescents) has been revised: I had to conclude that infantilisation as well as emancipation can be the result of normative descriptions of development. A summary of my present thinking is to be found in “The Child between Infantilization and Emancipation by Spontaneous Development”. These new ideas and hypotheses are the content of my book to be published end of 1999, “De eeuw van het kind ligt achter ons”.
I organised an international colloquium “Are we at the end of the century of the child?”, that took place in February. The participants were the members of the nucleus “Historical Developmental Psychology” together with fifteen international scholars from several countries, predominantly specialists in the history of childhood, as well as developmental psychologists and educationalists. At the colloquium first drafts of chapters for a joint book were discussed extensively. The book will be finalised by the end of this year and be published by Cambridge University Press at the end of 1999.
Finally I wrote and edited a book on the historical foundations of developmental psychology and pedagogy (within the Netherlands), together with Gerrit Breeuwsma. This book will be published in 1999.