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Synthesis Edit

Rise of the modern university in Europe

Clark and Bender


Thomas Bender's edited volume examines the relationship between cities and the universities, in which the latter was shaped by the former.

Clark's work provides an inside lens on the works of the guild-university. Status and professorship was deternmined by nepotism, traditions, and the faculty. He argues that these practices were transformed by the buergoining bureacratic German state. Drawing on Weberian ideas of "Charisma," Clark contends that the university transitioned from a juridico-ecclesiastic academic world to a politico-economic (the modern university). Clark's book peels back the palimpsests of the modern research university.

Impact on America:

Why is there a boon in college building after the Revolutionary War and a diversification of colleges? Why is there a great proliferation of colleges after the Civil War? Why does the Land-Grant movement begin then? To understand the history of American higher educaiton scholarship since the 1960s has examined the influence of social, cultural, and economic processes on the universities and colleges. Fredick Rudolph's 1962 book examines the long history of the American college and university. He looks at the relationship between the social development of American society and its impact on the character of the university. The colonial college, for example, was altered by the American revolution, as the new leadership - Benjamin Rush, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, amongst others - advocated for a university education more directed toward science and democratic citizenship rather than religious indoctrination. Surplus value + Decline in students + Land Grant = led to debates about higher education and three ideological streams: utility, research, or culture. Tensions were never reconciled; at the core of American higher education.

Laurence Veysey, in his landmark 1965 book The Emergence of American Higher Education, recognized three threads - utility, research, and culture - that transformed the university at the turn of the 20th century. University educators moved away from the idea that the purpose of the university was to cultivate a "discipline of the mind" and either emphasized the university's utilitarian purposes (service and vocational development), research (knowledge production), or culture ().

It is also useful to compare the nature of higher education with global trends. Thomas Bender's 1988 edited volume, The University and the City, offers a lens onto the changing character of higher education other (urban) contexts.

However, Julie Reuben's 1996 book The Making of the Modern University challenges Veysey's tripartite division. The university reformers in the late nineteenth century, the same ones that Veysey highlights (e.g. Charles W. Eliot at Harvard) believe in the "unity of truth." Reuben argues it was the changing nature of knowledge that led to the transformation of the American university and the marginalization of morality. (*CHANGING CONCEPTION OF KNOWLEDGE)

Reuben challenges Veysey's tripartite division.  These movements were all the same; it was the changing nature of knowledge that transformed the university and led to the marginalization of morality (concomitantly, religion). Interestingly, Reuben looks at similar “departments”: religion, social sciences, and the humanities (and administration/extracurricular). While Veyey sees these has different trends, Reuben sees them as all the same: a new attempt to bring about the practice and “unity of knowledge.” The goal was to cultivate an appreciation of culture: the aesthetic, moral and emotion, and social. The man of culture was someone who was positive but reverent and possessed the breadth of understanding and learning, sensibility and artistic feeling, aspiration and endeavor.

Unlike Reuben, Veysey sees these threads – utility, research, and culture – as a revolt against mental discipline (religion). Reuben, however, sees the efforts o university reformers of trying to accommodate new scientific thought with mental discipline/religion.

More recently, John Thelin has offered a new synthesis of the university. He makes an important intervention on the  history of the colonial college, showing that these early colleges were not merely "transplants" of the Oxbridge model, but were also influenced and shaped by religious denominations and also drew on the "external board" of the Scottish University.

Yet, until recently, overlooked in scholarship on the early American colonial college was the role of slaver. Craig Wilder argues in Ebony and Ivy that slavery was fundamental to the creation and expansion of American higher education.