Academic Freedom in the Age of the College

Academic Freedom in the Age of the College

by Richard Hofstadter
     
 

When this classic volume first appeared, academic freedom was a crucially important issue. It is equally so today. Hofstadter approaches the topic historically, showing how events from various historical epochs expose the degree of freedom in academic institutions. The volume exemplifies Richard Hofstader’s qualities as a historian as well as his

Overview

When this classic volume first appeared, academic freedom was a crucially important issue. It is equally so today. Hofstadter approaches the topic historically, showing how events from various historical epochs expose the degree of freedom in academic institutions. The volume exemplifies Richard Hofstader’s qualities as a historian as well as his characteristic narrative ability.

Hofstadter first describes the medieval university and how its political independence evolved from its status as a corporate body, establishing a precedent for intellectual freedom that has been a measuring rod ever since. He shows how all intellectual discourse became polarized with the onset of the Reformation. The gradual spread of the Moderate Enlightenment in the colonies led to a major advance for intellectual freedom. But with the beginning of the nineteenth century the rise of denominationalism in both new and established colleges reversed the progress, and the secularization of learning became engulfed by a tidal wave of intensifying piety.

Roger L. Geiger’s extensive new introduction evaluates Hofstadter’s career as a historian and political theorist, his interest in academic freedom, and the continuing significance of Academic Freedom in the Age of the College. While most works about higher education treat the subject only as an agent of social economic mobility, Academic Freedom in the Age of the College is an enduring counterweight to such histories as it examines a more pressing issue: the fact that colleges and universities, at their best, should foster ideas at the frontiers of knowledge and understanding. This classic text will be invaluable to educators, university administrators, sociologist, and historians.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Originally published in 1955 by Columbia U. Press and reprinted with an extensive new introduction. Hofstadter (1916-1970) provides a history of academic freedom since the medieval university. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231085113
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
01/28/1955
Pages:
274

Meet the Author

Roger L. Geiger is Distinguished Professor of Higher Education at The Pennsylvania State University and editor of Perspectives on the History of Higher Education. His latest book is The History of American Higher Education: Learning and Culture from the Founding to World War II.

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