Title: Democracy and Education
27 - March - Lecture
29 - March - Discussion
Lecturer: Richard Brodhead, Dean of Yale College and A.Bartlett Giamatti Professor of English and Professor of American Studies

Lecturer BIO : Richard H. Brodhead was born in Dayton, Ohio in April 1947. He graduated from Yale College summa cum laude in 1968 and received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1972. Since joining the faculty that year, he has taught widely in the fields of English and American literature and has won the DeVane Medal for outstanding teaching. In addition to holding visiting appointments at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, he has taught in the Yale-New Haven Teachers' Institute and spent eight summers on the faculty of the Bread Loaf School of English, a M.A. program for high school teachers from across the country. He is the author of several books on American literature, most recently Cultures of Letters: Scenes of Reading and Writing in Nineteenth-Century America (1993), and he edited the previously-unpublished journals of the African-American author and educator Charles W. Chesnutt. After serving for six years as the chair of the Department of English, he was named Dean of Yale College in 1993, in which post he has oversight of undergraduate education, faculty appointments, student services, and admissions and financial aid policy. He was named the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of English in 1995.

Lecture Description:

This lecture takes note of the fact that, while our political democracy has long looked to the schools as a training ground for citizens, the relation between democracy and schooling has been complex and tension-ridden throughout this country's history. In almost every generation, American schools have found inspiring new missions as they have been asked to make new dreams of democratic community come true. At the same time, in giving them institutionalized form, schools have also displayed the limitations of these visions and highlighted their unforeseen social implications-with the result that the school has also been a special site of controversy in America, the home at once of democracy's special hopes, fears, frustrations, and inner struggles. The lecture will explore the complexities of this relation by looking at three notable chapters in the history of American education: Thomas Jefferson's plan for schools for post-revolutionary Virginia; the movement, associated with Horace Mann, that pressed for compulsory universal public education in the antebellum era; and the democratization of college and university admissions-at Yale and elsewhere-in the century just closed.

Copyright 2001, Richard Brodhead






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