A timely, provocative, necessary look at how identity politics has come to dominate college campuses and higher education in America at the expense of a more essential commitment to equality.
Thirty years after the culture wars, identity politics is now the norm on college campuses--and it hasn't been an unalloyed good for our education system or the country. Though the civil rights movement, feminism, and gay pride led to profoundly positive social changes, William Egginton argues that our culture's increasingly narrow focus on individual rights puts us in a dangerous place. The goal of our education system, and particularly the liberal arts, was originally to strengthen community; but the exclusive focus on individualism has led to a new kind of intolerance, degrades our civic discourse, and fatally distracts progressive politics from its commitment to equality.
Egginton argues that our colleges and universities have become exclusive, expensive clubs for the cultural and economic elite instead of a national, publicly funded project for the betterment of the country. Only a return to the goals of community, and the egalitarian values underlying a liberal arts education, can head off the further fracturing of the body politic and the splintering of the American mind.
With lively, on-the-ground reporting and trenchant analysis,The Splintering of the American Mind is a powerful book that is guaranteed to be controversial within academia and beyond. At this critical juncture, the book challenges higher education and every American to reengage with our history and its contexts, and to imagine our nation in new and more inclusive ways.
“Provocative . . . Egginton's pot-stirring prose . . . will delight some readers and rile others, but his book will interest anyone wanting a better sense of the current mood surrounding American higher education.” —Publishers Weekly
“An eloquent and moving defense of higher education's contribution to the public good.” —Laura Kipnis, author of UNWANTED ADVANCES
“An incisive and nuanced diagnosis of the ruptures in our society that so challenge higher education today.” —Adam Falk, President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
“The Splintering of the American Mind challenges all those working in higher education to return to first principles.” —Christopher S. Celenza, Ph.D., Dean of Georgetown College at Georgetown University
“A compassionate clarion call. He provides a convincing blueprint for how educators can promote community .” —David Goldfield, author of THE GIFTED GENERATION
“A must-read book. For anyone concerned about the state of modern America and Higher Education's role in it, Egginton provides an artful and passionate plea for America to revive its public sphere, and to renew our collective sense of commonwealth. Challenging all viewpoints and taking no prisoners, there is a dynamic and arresting urgency to his prose.” —Ben Vinson III, Dean, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, George Washington University, and author of BEFORE MESTIZAJE
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