Education

Press release: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

April 25, 2006
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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. . . .

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Review, David S. Brown, Richard Hofstadter

March 29, 2006
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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. . . .

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Now it’s hamantashen time

March 14, 2006
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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 . . .

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"Acting white"

February 21, 2006
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"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 . . .

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