JEWISH LEARNING IN AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES

THE FIRST CENTURY

An authoritative study of the emergence of Jewish studies on the American campus. Sociologists have noted that access to and achievement in higher education facilitated the entrance of American Jews into the economic and cultural mainstream. Ritterband (Jewish Studies and Sociology/City College, CUNY) and Wechsler (Education and Human Development/Univ. of Rochester) remind us that, as a widespread phenomenon, this is recent; until the 1950s and early 1960s some Ivy League schools had quotas for Jewish students and faculty. But at the turn of the century, in a small but pivotal group of American universities, there were quite a few Jewish students, and a smaller proportion of faculty members who were offering courses on Jewish subjects, often under the rubric of Semitic Studies. The authors focus on six of these schools—Columbia, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, the University of California, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania. Between 1875 and 1925 these schools offered courses in ancient Near Eastern languages, biblical archaeology, and comparative philology. As the authors note, ``The American Semitics professorate contained a goodly proportion of Jews who commanded sufficient resources to assume the subject's inclusion.'' By the mid-1920s academic anti-Semitism and a shift in the priorities of American Jews precipitated a sharp decline in both Jewish student enrollments and course offerings in Judaica. All of higher education was in the throes of change, and subjects as esoteric as biblical criticism and comparative philology were seen as irrelevant. The book, which ends with the proliferation of Jewish Studies programs in the 1970s, has wider implications than its title would indicate: regarding the value of a liberal education, the contents of the much-disputed literary canon, and the structuring of the college curriculum, which, the authors note, ``is rarely invented from a coherent rational plan.'' This analysis of an important American educational story is somewhat plodding and dry, but the end result is coherent and insightful.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-253-35039-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Indiana Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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