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Readings argues compellingly that the university has outlived its purpose—a purpose defined two centuries ago, when the nation-state and the modern notion of culture came together to make the university the guardian of national culture...What, Readings asks, "is the point of the University, if we realize that we are no longer to strive to realize a national identity, be it an ethnic essence or a republican will?" What happens when the culture the university was meant to preserve goes global and transnational along with everything else? This is an intriguing argument. And...it helps to explain much. From this perspective, for example, Readings is wonderfully insightful on the "culture wars" that have wracked universities and bewildered the public for two decades...Readings offers a call to arms to those of us who live and work in universities as well as to those on the outside—a call to better understand our position in a changing world, to come out of our professional shells, stop pining for a lost world, and actively seek to construct something different...[This is] a remarkable contribution.
— David Harvey