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  • Acknowledgments vii

    Introduction: The Public, the Press, and the Professors / Barbara Herrnstein Smith 1

    Humanities for the Future: Reflections on the Western Culture Debate at Stanford / Mary Louise Pratt 13

    The Extraordinary Convergence: Democracy, Technology, Theory, and the University Curriculum / Richard A. Lanham 33

    Teach the Conflicts / Gerald Graff 57

    Cult-Lit: Hirsh, Literacy, and the "National Culture" / Barbara Herrnstein Smith 75

    The Master's Pieces: On Canon Formation and the African-American Tradition / Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 95

    Liberal Arts Education and the Struggle for Public Life: Dreaming about Democracy / Henry A. Giroux 119

    Pedagogy in the Context of an Antihomophobic Project / Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick 145

    Serious Watching / Alexander Nehamas 163

    From Ivory Tower to Tower of Babel? / Elizabeth Kamarck Minnich 187

    The Emergence of the Humanities / Bruce Kuklick 201

    The Academy and the Public / Phyllis Franklin 213

    Classics and Canons / George A. Kennedy 223

    Two Cheers for the Cultural Left / Richard Rorty 233

    The Common Touch, or, One Size Fits All / Stanley Fish 241

    Against Nostalgia: Reflections on Our Present Discontents in American Higher Education / Francis Oakley 267

    Notes on Contributors 291

    Index 295
  • Barbara Herrnstein Smith

    Mary Louise Pratt

    Richard Lanham

    Gerald Graff

    Henry Louis Gates Jr.

    Henry GIROUX

    Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

    Alexander Nehamas

    Elizabeth Kamarck Minnich

    Phyllis Franklin

    George A. Kennedy

    Richard Rorty

    Stanley Fish

    Francis Oakley

  • Winner, 1992 Critics Circle Award (presented by the American Educational Studies Association)


  • Winner, 1992 Critics Circle Award (presented by the American Educational Studies Association)

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  • Description

    Controversy over what role “the great books” should play in college curricula and questions about who defines “the literary canon” are at the forefront of debates in higher education. The Politics of Liberal Education enters this discussion with a sophisticated defense of educational reform in response to attacks by academic traditionalists. The authors here—themselves distinguished scholars and educators—share the belief that American schools, colleges, and universities can do a far better job of educating the nation’s increasingly diverse population and that the liberal arts must play a central role in providing students with the resources they need to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.
    Within this area of consensus, however, the contributors display a wide range of approaches, illuminating the issues from the perspectives of their particular disciplines—classics, education, English, history, and philosophy, among others—and their individual experiences as teachers. Among the topics they discuss are canon-formation in the ancient world, the idea of a “common culture,” and the educational implications of such social movements as feminism, technological changes including computers and television, and intellectual developments such as “theory.” Readers interested in the controversies over American education will find this volume an informed alternative to sensationalized treatments of these issues.

    Contributors. Stanley Fish, Phyllis Franklin, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Henry A. Giroux, Darryl J. Gless, Gerald Graff, Barbara Herrnstein Smith, George A. Kennedy, Bruce Kuklick, Richard A. Lanham, Elizabeth Kamarck Minnich, Alexander Nehamas, Mary Louise Pratt, Richard Rorty, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

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