Office Hours: 10am-12pm, Tuesdays, Robinson Hall L-14 Course Description
For many, the university is simply another stepping stone to professional success in life. Yet in addition to their central role as places of learning, universities have played a tremendous part in the intellectual, cultural, religious, political, and economic life of societies across the world for centuries. This course will investigate the multi-faceted significance of the university as a historical phenomenon from its antecedents and origins in the medieval period to its ubiquitous presence today. We will approach the university and its constituent parts—students, professors, curricula, libraries, and administration—as historical subjects in and of themselves.
The primary goal of the course will be to engage in assessing the historical, reciprocal relationship between universities and societies, past and present, through the exploration of primary and secondary sources. We will discuss the nature and types of sources—notes, lectures, archives, textbooks, matriculation records statutes—as well as the challenges associated with them. We will debate and evaluate what they can reveal about the history of universities and the potential biases depending on their use. Students will explore the wide array of methodologies—quantitative, qualitative, network analysis, textual and literary methods—as well as engage in different interpretations on the significance of universities to the development of professionalism, academic freedom, social protest, and nationalist student movements. Moreover, the course will engage in historiographical debates on universities and their importance and assess universities’ impact on society in the past and today. Course topics include collegiate life, teaching and curriculum, student movements and politics, philosophies of education, women and higher learning, religion and secularization, study abroad, academic freedom, and ideas/concepts of a university.
Participation and Attendance (20%): Active participation entails attending all meetings, completing the assigned readings, preparing thoughtful comments and questions on them, and engaging actively in classroom discussion.
Three Response Papers (30%): Two pages in length examining a historiographical issue, theme, or problem from readings due in weeks 4, 8, and 12.
Presentation of Class Material (15%): This will include co-leading the first part of one weekly meeting, introducing readings and materials of that week, and preparing discussion questions.
Final Interpretative Essay (35%): 10 pages in length, the essay will consist of a synthetic historiographical reflection on the historical relationship between universities and societies based on suggested themes and topics; response papers can serve as a partial basis for this essay.
Week 1—Jan. 23: Introduction—What is a University? Concepts, Terms, Problems, Challenges.
Week 2—Jan. 30: The Beginnings of the University—Origins, Schools, Institutions, and Preconditions
Darleen Pryds, “Studia as Royal Offices: Mediterranean Universities of Medieval Europe” (Available on course website).
George Makdisi, “Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 109, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1989), pp. 175-182.
Walter Rüegg, ed., A History of the University in Europe, selections.
“Medieval Universities” BBC’s In Our Time with Melvin Bragg podcast (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00zf384)
Alan B. Cobban, “Medieval Student Power,” Past and Present 53 (1971), pp. 28-66.
William J. Courtenay, “Inquiry and Inquisition: Academic Freedom in Medieval Universities,” Church History 58, No. 2 (Jun., 1989), pp. 168-181.
Primary Source: Lynn Thorndike, University Records and Life in the Middle Ages (all in English translations, brief excerpts, choose two to three for class).http://quod.lib.umich.edu.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=acls;idno=heb06048
Week 4—Feb. 13: Between Renaissance and Reformation, Between Innovation and Tradition—Education and Universities in Early Modern Europe
Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine, From Humanism to Humanities, selections.
Paul Grendler, “The Universities of Renaissance and Reformation.” Renaissance Quarterly 57, No. 1 (2004), pp. 1-42.
Paul Grendler “The Decline of Italian Universities,” in The Universities of the Italian Renaissance.
** Response Paper 1
Week 5—Feb. 27: Study Abroad and Learned Travel in Early Modern Europe
Thomas Platter, Autobiography, ch. 3.
Antoni Mączak, Travel in Early Modern Europe, selections.
Week 6—Mar. 5: The Birth of the Modern University—The Revolution of Higher Learning in German Universities
William Clark, Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University (2006).
Week 7—Mar. 19: The University and Reform in Great Britain
John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University, excerpt. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/newman/newman-university.html
Sheldon Rothblatt, “London: A Metropolitan University?” in Bender, ed., The University and the City: from medieval origins to the present, pp. 119-149.
Reba Soffer, Discipline and power: the university, history, and the making of an English Elite, selections.
Week 8—Mar. 26: The University in the New World---The Case of Making Harvard Modern
Charles William Eliot, ‘The Aims of the Higher Education,’ in Education Reform: Essays and Addresses (1898), pp. 223-249. (Available via Google Books)
Morton and Phyllis Keller, Making Harvard Modern: The Rise of America’s University, selections.
** Response Paper 2 due
Week 9—Apr. 2: The Creation of the Research University and Women’s Colleges in America
Helen Horowitz, Alma mater: design and experience in the women’s colleges from their beginnings to the 1930s, selections.
Edward Shils, “The University, the City, and the World: Chicago and the University of Chicago,” in Bender, ed., The University and the City: from medieval origins to the present, pp. 210-230.
Week 10—Apr. 9: The Demand for Higher Education Elsewhere—The Case of India
Sumita Mukherje, Nationalism, Education, and Migrant Identities: the England-Returned, selections.