The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University (Issues of Our Time)

The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University (Issues of Our Time)

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by Louis Menand
     
 

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"Crisp and illuminating . . . well worth reading."—Wall Street Journal

The publication of The Marketplace of Ideas has precipitated a lively debate about the future of the American university system: what makes it so hard for colleges to decide which subjects are required? Why are so many academics against the concept of

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Overview

"Crisp and illuminating . . . well worth reading."—Wall Street Journal

The publication of The Marketplace of Ideas has precipitated a lively debate about the future of the American university system: what makes it so hard for colleges to decide which subjects are required? Why are so many academics against the concept of interdisciplinary studies? From his position at the heart of academe, Harvard professor Louis Menand thinks he's found the answer. Despite the vast social changes and technological advancements that have revolutionized the society at large, general principles of scholarly organization, curriculum, and philosophy have remained remarkably static. Sparking a long-overdue debate about the future of American education, The Marketplace of Ideas argues that twenty-first-century professors and students are essentially trying to function in a nineteenth-century system, and that the resulting conflict threatens to overshadow the basic pursuit of knowledge and truth.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Like Charles Muscatine's Fixing College Education, below, this work examines issues related to the curriculum and the approach of the faculty; unlike Muscatine, Menand (English, Harvard; staff writer, The New Yorker) focuses on selective colleges and universities and especially on the humanities, explaining the importance of general education for all undergraduates, even though they may be more interested in career preparation than ideas. He links the difficulties for universities in promoting general education to tensions in academic careers emerging from faculty selection and training, uncertainties about disciplinary and interdisciplinary frameworks, and the strong frustrations in current academic career patterns. Menand puts these issues in a historical perspective in a thoughtful and graceful style but offers little hope that the structure of academic knowledge production and dissemination will support reforms. VERDICT An important, if traditional, view on the content of higher education. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/09.]
Washington Monthly
“A worthy and admirably succinct exploration of why colleges are so difficult to improve.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393071474
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
12/06/2010
Series:
Issues of Our Time
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
File size:
332 KB

Meet the Author

Louis Menand, professor of English at Harvard University, is the author of The Metaphysical Club, which won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in History. A longtime staff writer for The New Yorker, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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