In response to recent "right-wing" books attacking the contemporary university and blaming educators for a decline in American culture, Levine argues that the "opening up" of American education and of a changing society are inextricably linked.
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In 1987 The Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom's famously ferocious critique of the corrosive effects of political correctness in American universities, exploded like a bomb in the halls of the academy; even today, its conservative analysis is constantly enlarged upon by academics and political pundits alike, from Dinesh D'Souza to William J. Bennett. In The Opening of the American Mind, Lawrence W. Levine has produced a direct rebuttal. The conservative complainers are, he says, discomfited by perfectly healthy developments in education. Levine argues that opening the academic canon to cultures beyond Western civilization is a natural and laudable outgrowth of the increasing diversity of America. The universities are changing, says Levine, to keep in touch with the real world, and are "doing a more thorough and cosmopolitan job ... than ever before."About the Author:
Lawrence W. Levine is professor of history at George Mason University and Margaret Byrne Professor of History emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. His studies of American culture include Black Culture and Black Consciousness and High-Brow/Low-Brow.
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