1. The Marketplace of Ideas: Louis Menand’s new book—subtitled Reform and Resistance in American Universities—is getting a fair amount of attention. Here’s a solid review in Slate.com, but I’ve seen other excellent reflections here (WSJ, Wilfred McClay) and here (Bookforum, Jessica Loudis).
2. Dissent’s “Intellectuals and Their America”: I’m very interested in this forum but have not yet had the time to explore it fully. Have you? Feel free to color my reading.
3. Graduate-level Liberal Arts—In Business Schools: So the NYT has unintentionally(?) documented the sorry state of liberal arts education in America by showing how a liberal arts mindset has to be remedially taught in graduate professional school. Maybe this foreshadows a burgeoning market for un/under-employed humanities PhDs?!
4. An Addition to the Annals of African-American Intellectual History: My online colleague Sharon Williams, editor of The Chicago History Journal (a weblog), has relayed some of the biography of the literary critic, Chicagoan, and former Duke University professor Kenny J. Williams (1927-2003).
5. An Upcoming Conference on Neoliberalism: My home institution, UIC, is planning a conference on neoliberalism courtesy of Walter Benn Michaels. I’m planning to attend, so let me know if you’ll be there too.
6. Common Education Standards for Schools: E.D. Hirsch reflects on the weaknesses of the Common Core Standards Initiative sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. This initiative applies to college/university professor types because it deals with college readiness. And Hirsch believes a major weakness to be the lack of content standards—much of which deals directly with history, or at least historical topics.
7. Butler’s Critical Americans: The October 2009 issue of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (Vol. 8, no. 4) contains a review of Leslie Butler‘s Critical Americans: Victorian Intellectuals and Transatlantic Liberal Reform. The reviewer is Christopher McKnight Nichols.
8. Anti-intellectualism and Ignorance Today: This conspiracy-theory video on Obama, Catholicism, and domestic politics shows why we need to study intellectual history in America. I’ve never seen so much ignorance packed into a 3:36 minute clip. Wow.