Education

Review: Clark, Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University

October 3, 2006
By
Review: Clark, Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University

William Clark’s most recent work, Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University, is one of the first books to take on the daunting task of charting the evolution of academics in the western world. Full of profound insights into the development of the profession, the academics themselves have been quick to praise Clark’s book for its comprehensive and insightful account of the discipline. Sheldon Rothblatt, professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Berkeley writes in a review for the American Scientist: In almost any way that one can imagine, Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University is an astonishing book. Earlier reviews have said as much. It is astonishing in style, voice, structure, method, conception, breadth, and learning.… introduces a startling set of new ideas: It was not the professors who created the modern academic profession; rather, it was the rationalizing, bureaucratic, market-conscious functionaries who served the various German states of the 18th century.… This emphasis on the state as the ultimate, if indirect, source of intellectual creativity challenges received opinion, but it also challenges a certain high-mindedness about the pursuit and embrace of knowledge that the inherited account assumes. The corrective . . .

Read more »

Review: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

June 7, 2006
By
Review: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

Great reviews continue to pour in for David S. Brown’s Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography. In his review for Slate.com, David Greenberg called the book "perceptive and lucid." Wilfred M. McClay of the Wall Street Journal wrote about Brown’s honest examination of Hofstadter: "The paradoxical effect of Mr. Brown’s biography, however, is to lower rather than raise our estimation of Richard Hofstadter as a historian and thinker. This may come as a bit of a shock to those who have admired him for so long and have clung to his example as an alternative to the narrowly academic or tendentious historical writing of the present day. It is a bit disconcerting, like the archetypal visit to one’s childhood home and neighborhood, where everything that once seemed so great and magical looks infinitely smaller and shabbier than one remembered. But Mr. Brown’s book makes it hard to evade the fact that Hofstadter was a historian who, for all the charm of his work, was nearly always wrong in his most important assertions." In his review in the Summer 2006 issue of Bookforum, Robert S. Boynton called Richard Hofstadter "excellent." In the Boston Globe, Christopher Shea noted that Hofstadter "had a knack . . .

Read more »

Review: Lanham, The Economics of Attention

May 4, 2006
By
Review: Lanham, The Economics of Attention

Publishers Weekly recently praised Richard A. Lanham’s The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information. From the review: "Lanham’s points are strong and well-researched, as shown through his ‘background conversations,’ substitutes for endnotes included at the end of every chapter. If style is going to increasingly operate as the decision-making arbiter, Lanham should be commended on his: clear, jargon-free and forward-thinking." Richard A. Lanham here traces our epochal move from an economy of things and objects to an economy of attention. According to Lanham, the central commodity in our new age of information is not stuff but style, for style is what competes for our attention amidst the din and deluge of new media. In such a world, intellectual property will become more central to the economy than real property, while the arts and letters will grow to be more crucial than engineering, the physical sciences, and indeed economics as conventionally practiced. For Lanham, the arts and letters are the disciplines that study how human attention is allocated and how cultural capital is created and traded. In an economy of attention, style and substance change places. The new attention economy, therefore, will anoint a new set . . .

Read more »

Review: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

May 3, 2006
By
Review: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

The New York Sun recently reviewed David S. Brown’s Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography. From the review by Adam Kirsch: "As David Brown shows in his fascinating new study, Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography, Hofstadter’s life and times prepared him to be the kind of historian he was. Indeed, the sometimes unsettling insight that drives Mr. Brown’s book is that each generation of historians reads their own experience into the American past, turning historiography into a kind of biography.… As Mr. Brown shows, Richard Hofstadter has receded into the American past he helped to illuminate; but he remains one of its most honorable figures." In this masterful biography, David S. Brown explores Hofstadter’s life within the context of the rise and fall of American liberalism. A fierce advocate of academic freedom, racial justice, and political pluralism, Hofstadter charted in his works the changing nature of American society from a provincial Protestant foundation to one based on the values of an urban and multiethnic nation. Read an excerpt. . . .

Read more »

Press release: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

April 25, 2006
By
Press release: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

The author of The American Political Tradition and the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, Richard Hofstadter was one of the most celebrated and respected historians of twentieth-century America—and certainly one of its most influential public intellectuals. His championing of the liberal politics that came out of the New Deal, his fierce opposition to McCarthyism and then the acolytes of Barry Goldwater, and the many ideas that he introduced to our nation’s political conversation shaped not only the way we think of the historian’s role in civic life, but steered the direction of American politics as well. Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography explores Hofstadter’s remarkable life story in the context of the rise and fall of American liberalism.… Read the press release. Read an excerpt. . . .

Read more »

Review, David S. Brown, Richard Hofstadter

March 29, 2006
By
Review, David S. Brown, Richard Hofstadter

Publishers Weekly recently reviewed David S. Brown’s Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography. From the review: "Richard Hofstadter wrote several of the 20th century’s most popular and important works of American history, but, as historian Brown reminds readers in this nuanced study, those works were as much a critique of the political culture of his own day as they were an analysis of the past. brief, pointed readings of the Columbia-based thinker’s books and analyses of his era’s conflicts…. As he makes a strong case for the relevance of Hofstadter’s influential understanding of political conflict to contemporary society, Brown is attentive to his flaws, as well: most notably, his personal devotion to postwar, meritocratic liberalism often led him to apply and selectively develop his historical arguments. Although the Hofstadter estate’s prohibition against quotation from his letters weakens the presentation of his inner life, Brown’s thorough research has yielded plenty of well-chosen snippets from the words of Hofstadter’s family, colleagues and students to flesh out this valuable intellectual portrait." Read an excerpt. . . .

Read more »

Now it’s hamantashen time

March 14, 2006
By
Now it’s hamantashen time

The Latke-Hamantash Debate was born at the University of Chicago some sixty years. In Chicago the debate is traditionally held on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. On other campuses—Cornell University, for example—the debate takes place around the celebration of Purim. Purim, Hanukkah, or, heck, the Fourth of July, any time is an appropriate time for the intellectual and gastronomic delights of The Great Latke-Hamantash Debate, a collection of the best of nearly sixty years of brilliant University of Chicago oratory deployed on behalf of latkes and hamantashen. In the Jerusalem Report Matt Nesvisky writes, “Editor Cernea, herself an anthropologist and a former Hillel official, has done a creditable job of combing through the organization’s archives to come up with essays that are never quite hilarious but are usually at least moderately amusing. I for one confess to a fondness for Ralph Marcus’s charming couplet: ‘Though David admired Bathsheba’s torso/ He liked her hamantashen more so.’ A close second is when Lawrence Sherman has Mercutio remarking ‘Women who are cold, cold latkes/ Cannot warm a young man’s gatkes.’” Our online feature for the book includes the text and audio of Ted Cohen’s “Consolations of the Latke” as well as recipes . . .

Read more »

"Acting white"

February 21, 2006
By
"Acting white"

"Go into any inner-city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can’t teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can’t achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white." —Barack Obama, Keynote Address, Democratic National Convention, 2004 Ron Netsky, a writer for City (Rochester, NY), observed that the term "acting white" has been appearing in the media a lot lately (most recently in The Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Times) . Signithia Fordham and John Ogbu popularized the term in a study published in Urban Review in 1986. Fordham is also the author of Blacked Out: Dilemmas of Race, Identity, and Success at Capital High, a book which explores academic achievement within the Black community and the price students pay for attaining it. Earlier this month, Netsky interviewed Fordham about Black education issues and what it means to "act white." City: In Blacked Out, you write that one of the things that seems to make the education process difficult is generational. Fordham: After the Brown decision and the Civil Rights act—in the 1960s . . .

Read more »

Search for books and authors