The Liberal Arts and the Future of American Democracy: How American Education Has Failed Our Students and What to Do about It - John Agresto; | Foyles Bookstore
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The Liberal Arts and the Future of American Democracy: How American Education Has Failed Our Students and What to Do about It
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The Liberal Arts and the Future of American Democracy: How American Education Has Failed Our Students and What to Do about It (Hardback)

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Liberal education, if it does not discover how to speak to society in ways our culture understands, and if it cannot make its virtues apparent to the democracy in which we live, will make itself smaller and smaller, lose the audience it wishes to hold, and die by diminishment.

The liberal arts are dying because most Americans don't see the point of them. They don't get why anyone would study literature or history or the classics-or, more contemporarily, feminist criticism, whiteness studies, or the literature of postcolonial states-when they can get an engineering or a business degree.

Americans have two serious concerns regarding the value of a liberal arts education: first, the personal good of a liberal education, its value to the future life of the student, which is no longer as evident as it once was; and second, that except for academic ideologues on the left who passionately believe the liberal arts can be used to bludgeon students to become "social justice" activists, we more old-fashioned instructors are so frightened of speaking the language of usefulness and relevance that we come across less as citizens helping to promote the wider good and more as cloistered, inward-looking intellectuals. If we have the capacity and the will to be of real use to society, we have hidden it under a bushel.

My point is that the liberal arts are, at their best, not only of immense value-let's even say of "use"-to each of us as individuals, but also to America at large. Part of the greatness of the Founders was that they were much more hesitant than we are to believe that liberal education could not be useful or that other forms of education could not be liberal.

If Jefferson could think of a fully educated man as one who understands farming and philosophy, if he had no trouble moving from classical studies to writing a tract upon which a nation would be built, why are we Americans today so rigid in our separation of the theoretical from the practical, the scholarly from the civic?

EducationEducation TheoryPhilosophy & theory of education Publisher: Encounter Books,USA Publication Date: 25/08/2022 ISBN-13: 9781641772686  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: Pre-order for despatch on publication. Pre-Order

JOHN AGRESTO's academic career has spanned teaching at the University of Toronto, Kenyon College, Duke University, Wabash College, and the New School University. In the late 1970s he was both a scholar and administrator at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. In the 1980s he served in both senior administrative and policy positions-including Acting Chairman for 15 months-at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington DC. In 1989, he became President of St. John's College in Santa Fe, a position in which he served for 11 years. In 2003, Agresto went to Iraq, where he was the Senior Advisor for Higher Education and Scientific Research for the Coalition Provisional Authority. He returned regularly to Iraq over the years, becoming, in 2007, Acting Chancellor, Provost, and Academic Dean at the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani, positions he held until 2010. He was also, at various times, the Lilly Senior Research Fellow at Wabash College, Scholar-in-Residence at Hampden-Sidney College, and Fellow at the Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. Agresto is the author of five books and editor of three others, including Rediscovering America: Liberty, Equality, and the Crisis of Democracy (Asahina and Wallace); Mugged by Reality: The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions (Encounter Books); The Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy (Cornell); The Humanist as Citizen: Essays on the Uses of the Humanities (NHC and the UNC Press); as well as Tomatoes, Basil, and Olive Oil - An Italian American Cookbook (Wolfsbrunnen Press); and a political/religious thriller, published through Amazon under a pen name. Widely published in the areas of politics, law, and education, his articles and essays have appeared in such disparate places as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Commentary Magazine, the South Atlantic Quarterly, the Georgia Law Review, the Washington Times, the Review of Politics, and Academic Questions. Though retired, Agresto remains President of John Agresto & Associates, an educational consulting company, and is also a member and former chair of the New Mexico State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He recently retired as the Probate Judge of Santa Fe County.

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