The History of Education and the Rise of the American Research University

February 21-22, 2019
Yale University

“Of the making of books there is no end,” proclaimed Ecclesiastes, and this is especially characteristic of the contemporary study of education. There is no end to the visions and plans for how to reform schools at all levels, and yet, at the same time, deep dissatisfaction with the state of learning today.

Education for What: The History of Education and the Rise of the (American) Research University will examine the history, philosophy, sociology, and politics of education, focusing especially on the origins, rise, and effects of the American research university. Like nineteenth-century religious history, the study of education is too often written today as apologia rather than as critical, especially self-critical, examination. This conference will bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to consider essential questions such as: What is education? What is learning? What is the point of scholarship and research? When did we institutionalize its production, and what effects has that had on learning, and on society? What other models of research and higher education exist?

Panels will be organized in a few different ways in order to be more open to debate, argument, and the exchange of views. If possible, please read the papers, prompts and short responses available under the “Pre-Circulated Papers” section of the website.

This conference is organized by Mordechai Levy-Eichel, postdoctoral associate at the Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions, and student coordinator Joy Wang.