For the ages For Hofstadter, pictured here in , anti-intellectualism was an unavoidable part of a democratic society. (Erich Hartmann / Magnum Photos). Anti-intellectualism in American Life was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Non- Fiction. It is a book which throws light on many features of the American. Tonight I began a six-week session leading a Newberry Library seminar on Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.
|Published (Last):||23 June 2006|
|PDF File Size:||6.72 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||20.18 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
They are incapable of acquiring knowledge on a broad or a liberal scale.
I want to be fair to Hofstadter. Again, I wonder how he would define the triumph of mass media and athletics as big business, a thriving marriage, were he writing today? Popular writers, understandably proud of the political competence of the free man, were on the whole justifiably suspicious of the efforts of the cultivated and wealthy to assume an exclusive or excessively dominant role in government.
From the nineteenth century, when any secondary education was purposed for preparing students to enter college, to the increasing tendency to ‘dumb down’ secondary education which occurred in the first half of the 20th century, to the Sputnik shock, he shows that American secondary education was never really designed to prepare thoughtful citizens who could think critically. Even as they drafted solutions to the Great Depression, opposition simmered and gathered force, erupting, in this scenario, in the presidential election.
The Baptists less organized, less educated and somewhat less effective used similar tactics. In so doing, he explored questions regarding the purpose of education and whether the democratization of education altered that purpose and reshaped its form.
Tea rated it it was amazing Shelves: It’s not even so much that schools at varying points in the last years have failed to teach students to think for themselves, it’s that schools have at varying points assumed that the average student cannot think for him or herself. The greater part of the public, and a great part even of the intelligent and atni-intellectualism public, is simply anti-inteloectualism it is infused with ambivalence about intellect and intellectuals to be swayed now this anti-intellectualiem and now that on current cultural issues.
So does Hofstadter, whose long view instructs us that, at least for professors-as-intellectuals, we’ve always been a minority game, though once in a while–the first six Hofstqdter administrations, the tenure of both Roosevelts, Wilson, and possibly Kennedy–the life of the mind has been cherished, not scorned, by the masses. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. In many sections of these chapters, the eyes of the non-specialist might glaze over, or at least begin skimming, yet the cumulative evidence concerning those patterns convinces the reader.
That is what I want to preserve, or rather Success depended on skilled recruiting and religion that was readily accessible. Garfield, who did not want to encourage the American youth to ‘feed their spirits on the life of dead ages, instead of the inspiring life and vigor of our own times. He calls the latter “a literature hofstadtwr acid complaint and bitter criticism”: The term, attached to Adlai Stevenson and the two presidential campaigns, was seized upon and diffused by a range of anti-intellectual forces.
Otherwise why go to college, ask many in the Net Generation? From Washington through the John Quincy Adams administration, men of learning and accomplishment were sought for bofstadter work.
Anti-intellectualism in American Life – Wikipedia
After America became industrialized and business more complex, higher education began offering more engineering, accounting and law. And the parents have a right to say that no teacher paid by their money shall rob their children of faith in [their] God and send them back to their homes, skeptical, infidels, or agnostics, or atheists Richard Hofstadter’s masterwork reminds us that these are enduring though, happily, not always dominant themes in our political discourse.
He also looks at the intellectual and non-intellectual tendencies of presidents from hpfstadter Founding Fathers to the present day. The book begins with an insightful investigation anti-intellecyualism what it means to be an intellectual in the first place.
Anti-Intellectualism in American Life | work by Hofstadter |
Also by Richard Hofstadter. These rise when expertise oversteps its bounds, and makes mistakes, or perhaps even when it is needed too badly. Hofstadter demonstrates that some social movements in the U.
Thirdly, the book and its approach deserve renewed and heightened criticism. The fact that the word intellectual is still a dirty word here in this country is very telling. In these schools the scholars will soon come to believe that they are the only persons qualified to administer the Government Most recent books seem to treat this as a recent phenomenon, and often as only a function of something like stupidity.
What does all of this mean? This is a tough one, and Hofstadter draws examples from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to anchor his point.
Anti-Intellectualism in American Life
With the freedom in the early United States came the financial triumph of uneducated businessmen; they became rich, and that made them powerful. Continuing my winding journey looking at conspiracy theories and the culture that spawns and supports them, I came across this gem from Hofstadter regarding the anti-intellectualism of the united states from the first colonizers to the ‘s.
In these he documents American patterns of evangelism, primitivism, business activism, and egalitarianism, in each case tracing the story from the eighteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. The tendency to define the Bachelor’s degree as means to one practical end follows from the constriction of undergraduate education to vocational training. I don’t know what it takes to rid ourselves, in public education, of the “lowest common denominator” criterion.
Hofstadter traces the evolution of this bias in four sources: The desire to create, to discover, to engage with, requires not only a sort of hubris but an element of playfulness as well. Throughout his career, he worked at many universities, most recently as the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University.
They are insiders who sometimes revel in torpedoing the knowledge establishment and colleagues from the inside. How have conditions for intellectuals improved or worsened? Want to Read Currently Reading Read.
The Great Awakening addressed this with revivalist preachers who emphasized the spirit over knowledge, the Bible over academic books. The creative drive of the true intellectual is loneliness. Nothing like coterie language to anger outsiders who might want in. Apr 29, Andrew added it Shelves: All of these stories have been told before he wrote this book and after he wrote anti-inteplectualism book.
Twenty-two people voluntarily signed up to explore a year-old work of intellectual history. The masculine character, the ability to dare and endure, to know and yet not to fear reality, to look the world in the face and take it for what it is. Revivalists competed anti-intellechualism the established clergy and questioned the need for education, except to teach their particular religion.
Hofstadter regarded the “the Grand Inquisition of the s” as a means “to discharge resentments and frustrations, to punish, to satisfy enmities whose roots lay elsewhere than in the Communist issue itself”