The Lost Soul of Higher Education

Corporatization, the Assault on Academic Freedom, and the End of the American University

The response to Tenured Radicals and Illiberal Education—a major critique of how political and financial attacks on the academy are undermining our system of higher education

“Traditional academic freedom is much harder to defend in an institution that must struggle for the resources it needs to keep its current operations afloat.” —from The Lost Soul of Higher Education

The American university is under attack from two directions, argues Ellen Schrecker in this major new foray into the public debates over our troubled system of higher education. On the one hand, outside pressure groups have staged massive challenges to academic freedom, beginning in the 1960s with attacks on faculty who took stands against the Vietnam War, and crescendoing more recently with well-funded campaigns against Middle Eastern Studies scholars. Connecting these dots, Schrecker reveals a distinct pattern of concerted efforts to undermine the legitimacy of forms of scholarly study deemed to threaten the status quo.

At the same time, Schrecker deftly chronicles the erosion of university budgets and the encroachment of private-sector influence and business-friendly priorities into academic life. From the dwindling numbers of full-time faculty to the collapse of library budgets, The Lost Soul of Higher Education depicts a system increasingly beholden to corporate America and starved of the resources it needs to educate the new generation of citizens.

A sharp riposte to the conservative critics of the academy by the leading historian of the McCarthy-era witch hunts, The Lost Soul of Higher Education, reveals a system in peril—and with it the vital role of higher education in our democracy.


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Ellen Schrecker

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