Contending with Modernity; Catholic Higher Education in the Twentieth Century / Edition 1

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How did Catholic colleges and universities deal with the modernization of education and the rise of research universities? In this book, Philip Gleason offers the first comprehensive study of Catholic higher education in the twentieth century, tracing the evolution of responses to an increasingly secular educational system. At the beginning of the century, Catholics accepted modernization in the organizational sphere while resisting it ideologically. Convinced of the truth of their religious and intellectual position, the restructured Catholic colleges grew rapidly after World War I, committed to educating for a "Catholic Renaissance." This spirit of militance carried over into the post-World War II era, but new currents were also stirring as Catholics began to look more favorably on modernity in its American form. Meanwhile, their colleges and universities were being transformed by continuing growth and professionalization. By the 1960's, changes in church teaching and cultural upheaval in American society reinforced the internal transformation already under way, creating an "identity crisis" which left Catholic educators uncertain of their purpose. Emphasizing the importance to American culture of the growth of education at all levels, Gleason connects the Catholic story with major national trends and historical events. By situating developments in higher education within the context of American Catholic thought, Contending with Modernity provides the fullest account available of the intellectual development of American Catholicism in the twentieth century.

How did Catholic colleges deal with the modernization of higher education and the rise of research universities? This sweeping history of Catholic education in America answers this question, as it discusses the resulting "identity crisis" which left Catholic educators uncertain of their purpose.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Philip Gleason has produced a magisterial interpretation of Catholic higher education in the twentieth century....the most reliable and convincing comprehensive history of Catholic higher education. It is a must read for all involved in Catholic higher education and for all those interested in the intellectual and institutional history of religion and education in this country."—U.S. Catholic Historian

"[A] very fine book."—Commonweal

"Contending With Modernity important book....a thorough and impressive piece of scholarship."—America

"Academics, their appetites whetted by a steady stream of brilliant articles, eargerly awaited this history. They will not be disappointed. Gleason knows the material, blends it into a dramatic success story and provides some answers to the how and why questions."National Catholic Reporter

"A measured, balanced, meticulously researched, and authoritative study of a subject as important as it is vast. Reading this book is an almost unalloyed delight....The insights of Contending with Modernity fully match both the complexity and importance of its subject."—Books and Culture

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195098280
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 448
  • Lexile: 1700L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Catholic Higher Education in 1900 3
1 Awaking to the Organizational Challenge 21
Symptoms of Crisis 22
Realignment of Secondary and Collegiate Education 32
2 Rationalizing the Catholic System 39
The Problem of Unity and the Role of the Catholic University 39
The Origins and Early Development of the CEA 43
The High School Movement and Standardization 46
Standing Firm by the Ratio Studiorum 51
Biting the Curricular Bullet 55
3 The Impact of World War I 62
The NCWC and the Issue of Centralization 63
Standardization Once Again 69
The Students' Army Training Corps 72
4 A New Beginning: Catholic Colleges 1900-1930 81
The Catholic University of America 84
Catholic Women's Colleges, 1900-1930 89
The University Movement, 1900-1925 95
5 The Intellectual Context 105
The Scholastic Revival 105
Neoscholasticism and the Catholic Worldview 114
6 The Beginnings of the Catholic Renaissance 124
Americanism and Its Medieval Scholastic Background 125
The Postwar Catholic Resurgence 131
Developments in the Colleges 136
7 The Catholic Revival Reaches Full Flood 146
1928 and After: The Post-Al Smith Context 146
Creating a Catholic Culture 148
Catholic Action: Background and Beginnings 152
Catholic Action and the Colleges 154
Philosophy and Theology 163
8 Institutional Developments: Moving into Graduate Work 167
Graduate Work: Background and Beginnings 169
Graduate Expansion in the 1920s 171
Jesuit Self-Criticism and Reform 178
9 The Tribulations of the Thirties 184
Problems with Accreditation 184
Reorganization and Its Tensions 188
Graduate Work Once Again 197
10 World War II and Institutional Shifts 209
Specialized Wartime Programs 211
Research, Development, and Expanding Educational Horizons 215
Graduate Work and Related Developments 220
The Sister Formation Movement 226
11 Assimilative Tendencies and Curricular Crosscurrents 235
Catholic Colleges and the Race Issue 235
Catholics and the Postwar Student Movement 240
Debating the Liberal Arts 246
The Drive for Curricular Integration 250
Religion versus Theology 256
12 Controversy: Backlash Against the Catholic Revival 261
The Anti-Catholic Backlash 261
The Catholic Campaign Against Secularism 264
Secularism and the Family Crisis 268
John Courtney Murray and the Church-State Issue 274
13 Transition to a New Era 283
The Historical Recovery of Americanism 283
Self-Criticism and the Search for Excellence 287
The Splintering of the Scholastic Synthesis 297
14 The End of an Era 305
The Contagion of Liberty 305
Accepting Modernity 318
Abbreviations Used in Notes 323
Notes 325
Index 419
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