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Intellect and Public Life: Essays on the Social History of Academic Intellectuals in the United States / Edition 1

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Overview

Periodic "crises" in our academic culture remind us that the organization of our intellectual life is a product of history—neither fixed by the logic of social development nor inherent in the nature of knowledge itself. At a time of much unease in academia and among the general public about the relation of intellect to public life, Thomas Bender explores both the nineteenth-century origins and the twentieth-century configurations of academic intellect in the United States.

Intellect and Public Life pays special attention to the changing relationship of academic to urban culture. Examining the historical tensions faced by intellectuals who aspired to be at once academics and citizens, Bender traces the growing commitment of intellectuals to professional expertise and autonomy. He finds, as well, a historical pattern of academic withdrawal from the public discussion of matters of general concern. Yet the volume concludes on a hopeful note. With the demise of the classical republican notion of the public, Bender contends, there has emerged a more pluralistic notion of the public that—combined with the revival of interest in pragmatic theories of truth—may offer the possibility of a richer collaboration of democracy and intellect.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

<I>American Quarterly</I>

Bender's positive, generous, civil voice injects a soothing dose of optimism into current academic debates, and his invocation of 'public culture' delivers a needed antidote to the spurious concept that shares the same initial consonants.

— Mary Ryan

New York History
Thomas Bender is our foremost cartographer of the intellect, the Mercator of the American mind.
History of Education Quarterly
A finely wrought picture of academic life before disciplinary professionalization..

— Daniel T. Rogers

Times Higher Education Supplement
In this excellent collection... Bender's essays suggest an ingenious account, both intellectual and spatial, of the growth of professional society.

— Peter Scott

Change
The topic is a fascinating one, which is studied here with stimulating brevity and perception.

— Rosemary Park

Canadian Review of American Studies

[A] sparkling and insightful volume.

American Quarterly
Bender's positive, generous, civil voice injects a soothing dose of optimism into current academic debates, and his invocation of 'public culture' delivers a needed antidote to the spurious concept that shares the same initial consonants.

— Mary Ryan

Canadian Review of American Studies
[A] sparkling and insightful volume.
History of Education Quarterly - Daniel T. Rogers
A finely wrought picture of academic life before disciplinary professionalization..
Times Higher Education Supplement - Peter Scott
In this excellent collection... Bender's essays suggest an ingenious account, both intellectual and spatial, of the growth of professional society.
Change - Rosemary Park
The topic is a fascinating one, which is studied here with stimulating brevity and perception.
American Quarterly - Mary Ryan
Bender's positive, generous, civil voice injects a soothing dose of optimism into current academic debates, and his invocation of 'public culture' delivers a needed antidote to the spurious concept that shares the same initial consonants.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801857843
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Bender is Dean for the Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Science, University Professor of the Humanities, and professor of history at New York University. He is the author of Toward an Urban Vision, Community and Social Change in America, New York Intellect, and Budapest and New York: Studies in Metropolitan Transformation, 1870-1930.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Pt. I Nineteenth-Century Origins of Academic Culture
1 The Cultures of Intellectual Life: The City and the Professions 3
2 Science and the Culture of American Communities 16
3 The Erosion of Public Culture: Cities, Discourses, and Professional Disciplines 30
Pt. II Twentieth-Century Patterns
4 E.R.A. Seligman and the Vocation of Social Science 49
5 The Emergence of the New York Intellectuals: Modernism, Cosmopolitanism, and Nationalism 78
6 The Historian and Public Life: Charles A. Beard and the City 91
7 Lionel Trilling and American Culture 106
Pt. III Conclusions and Reconsiderations
8 Academic Knowledge and Political Democracy in the Age of the University 127
Epilogue 140
Notes 147
Index 173
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