A REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST [1987]

THE CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND
By
Allan Bloom

Has anything changed in education since the publication [1987] of this evocative and controversial book?

Subtitled: “How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students”

Again: What is the place of the humanities programs on college campuses?

What should an “educated” person know?

Should there exist a “core” of required readings for all students?

Does any of this really matter in our culture today?

THESE are some of the Great Human Questions HUM 2930.

“The ultimate challenge in education is to go to the individual human being and help her or him become what otherwise he or she would never become.”

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2 comments
  1. Like you said, the book is controversial. I agree with some of it, but not other parts.

    Looking back (It’s been a while since I read it) the main thing I don’t agree with is that he doesn’t see — or doesn’t care — that our ideas are most affected by the most powerful members of society: whites, men, the more well-to-do. So he complained that the great books were being replace by books by women and minorities. Of course all the “great books” shouldn’t be replaced by them. But for a long time publishers wouldn’t publish books by women and minorities, They wouldn’t be used in college courses. And so we missed out on the perspective of these groups.

    And it’s not like they actually wrote worse. It’s well known that many women couldn’t get published until they used a man’s name (George George Eliot, George Sand…), and with a man’s name they became “great books.” (But not everyone managed to change their name. And they got ignored.)

    Studies have found that you can have the exact same essay and if it has a man’s name as author, people think it’s a better essay.

    • I ALWAYS gave higher grades to women than to my male students. :o)

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