ERIC Number: EJ846758
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May-15
Reference Count: 0
ROTC and the Future of Liberal Education
Downs, Donald A.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n36 pB8 May 2009
Tensions between the military and the university are hardly new or surprising; after all, the two institutions embrace different cultures, procedures, and purposes. But they managed to coexist in a dynamic tension until the antiwar movement of the 1960s severed the relationship at many colleges, opening a gap that persists to this day. Consider that Brown, Columbia, the California Institute of Technology, Harvard, Stanford, and Yale have all forsaken Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), and that the programs at Cornell and Princeton have not attracted large numbers of students over the years. In recent years, student groups at some Ivy League universities have launched campaigns to bring ROTC back to their campuses. Meanwhile, military history has become a matter of controversy in academe. Some observers believe that the field is flourishing, especially with the growth of such "new military history" approaches as cultural studies and the so-called "war and society" movement, which have broadened and enriched the study of war and its implications. But other observers are far less sanguine. John A. Lynn, a professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, recently surveyed issues of the bellwether journal "The American Historical Review" published from 1976 to 2006. According to Lynn, "During this time, the "AHR" failed to publish a single research article focused on the conduct of the Hundred Years War, the Thirty Years War, the wars of Louis XIV, the War of American Independence, the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and World War II." In addition, there were no articles about Vietnam, and only two on the American Civil War, one of which was simply an address by the recently named president of the American Historical Association. The author discerns at least four ways in which exposure to military affairs can enhance civic and liberal education for nonmilitary students.
Descriptors: Military Training, Universities, General Education, Culture Conflict, Citizenship Education, History Instruction
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A