Beyond the Modern University: Toward a Constructive Postmodern University

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002 - Education - 131 pages

The modern university, which has its origins in 18th and 19th century Germany, is currently at war within itself. It seeks to portray itself on the one hand as an engine of economic development and, on the other hand, as existing for the sake of disinterested scholarly reflection and as a repository for human culture. The author outlines an entirely different conception of what the university must become if it is to be a force for good in the world.

The author contends that the modern university actively participates in the breakdown of human communities and the destruction of the natural world. He identifies the university's commitments to academic disciplines, philosophical materialism, and economism (the modern faith that infinite economic growth is both possible and desirable) as the roots of its negative impact, and calls for changes that would make the university a powerful agent for good in the world.


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Page 2 - Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know.

About the author (2002)

MARCUS PETER FORD is Associate Professor of Humanities, at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff.

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