Science, Democracy, and the American University: From the Civil War to the Cold War by Andrew Jewett | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Science, Democracy, and the American University: From the Civil War to the Cold War

Science, Democracy, and the American University: From the Civil War to the Cold War

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by Andrew Jewett
     
 

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This book reinterprets the rise of the natural and social sciences as sources of political authority in modern America. Andrew Jewett demonstrates the remarkable persistence of a belief that the scientific enterprise carried with it a set of ethical values capable of grounding a democratic culture – a political function widely assigned to religion. The book

Overview

This book reinterprets the rise of the natural and social sciences as sources of political authority in modern America. Andrew Jewett demonstrates the remarkable persistence of a belief that the scientific enterprise carried with it a set of ethical values capable of grounding a democratic culture – a political function widely assigned to religion. The book traces the shifting formulations of this belief from the creation of the research universities in the Civil War era to the early Cold War years. It examines hundreds of leading scholars who viewed science not merely as a source of technical knowledge, but also as a resource for fostering cultural change. This vision generated surprisingly nuanced portraits of science in the years before the military-industrial complex and has much to teach us today about the relationship between science and democracy.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Andrew Jewett has written an ambitious and important book. He significantly revises our understanding of the way scientists – or a good number of them, including social scientists – understood the relationship of the scientific authority claimed by their various disciplines to democracy, showing that this understanding aimed to bolster rather than challenge democracy. On the basis of both wide-ranging and deep research he identifies an ever-changing but long-standing line of ‘scientific democrats’ between the Civil War and World War II."
Thomas Bender, New York University

"With extraordinary sweep and erudition, this book challenges the idea that a 'value-free' model of scientific objectivity fixed narrow limits to the moral and political imagination in U.S. academic intellectual life. From the 1870s to the 1940s, leading thinkers and university reformers viewed science as the best carrier of values that would build a democratic society of citizen participation, rational deliberation, freedom, and collective commitment to securing social justice. Explaining how that long-running vision succumbed to positivist conventions in the mid-twentieth century, Andrew Jewett offers a strikingly new image of what 'the higher learning in America' once was."
Howard Brick, University of Michigan

"In this impressive and wide-ranging book, Andrew Jewett reconstructs a hitherto underappreciated tradition of American political thought. This tradition, which Jewett terms 'scientific democracy', emerged with the university movement of the post–Civil War decades, and fed on the new cultural authority of science among intellectuals and opinion makers. As Jewett deftly shows, scientific democrats shaped myriad aspects of education, politics, and cultural life during the first half of the twentieth century. Anyone who works on American thought and culture during the period stretching from the Civil War to the Cold War must now take account of Jewett's remarkable study."
Joel Isaac, University of Cambridge

"The key question for the understanding the social disciplines is not when or how they chose to follow the model of science, but what it meant to be scientific. Andrew Jewett shows in this comprehensive study how the alliance of natural and human sciences in America, framed for decades by a democratic ethic of knowledge, finally gave way to an ideal of specialized, technical knowledge in the era of the Cold War."
Theodore M. Porter, University of California, Los Angeles

"… outstanding work of intellectual history …"
Choice

"Jewett’s book is a fine exploration of a little-known but important attempt to find in science values powerful enough to rein in capitalism and create a more perfect democratic society."
Daniel J. Wilson, The Journal of American History

"Jewett’s sweeping account focuses on the history of a single tenacious idea - that the practice of science somehow conveys the personal virtues and ethical values requisite for democratic citizenship … His book certainly helps to expand conceptions of scientific expertise, while cataloguing remarkably conflicting ideas about the place of science in democratic culture."
Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"… very well-written, extremely well-documented, and ambitious … Jewett has provided a comprehensive history of competing interpretations of the meaning and uses of the term science. His work is a highly significant contribution to an understanding of a central component of American intellectual thought. As such, it is essential reading for advanced students and scholars in a number of disciplines."
Mark Oromaner, American Studies

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781107686311
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
05/01/2014
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.94(d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Jewett is Associate Professor of History and Social Studies at Harvard University, where he also participates in the History of American Civilization and Science, Technology, and Society graduate programs. He received his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and previously taught at Yale University, Vanderbilt University, and New York University. He has held fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, and the Cornell Society for the Humanities.

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Science, Democracy, and the American University: From the Civil War to the Cold War 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
BobFelton More than 1 year ago
Will not open in the Tab 4 ... buy the dead-tree edition ...