As one reflects on the long and colorful history of higher education, the temptation runs strong to conclude by drawing parallels between past and present, between what once was yesterday and what is today. The impulse is to try to link events separated from one another in time, to draw out broadly defined thematic connections, to locate basic continuities and patterns in the flow of things. Admittedly problematic, the enterprise is hazardous if carried too far. Straining after precedents, for example, readily lends itself to distortion, as does didacticism of any sort in historical inquiry. The danger of succumbing to cheap historicism of the worst kind is quite real. Respecting the historical autonomy of past events, treating their unique, contingent identity on their own terms, so to speak, is an obligation that must always be borne in mind.
KeywordsAcademic Freedom High Learning Civic Virtue AMERICAN High Education Historical Retrospect
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