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ERIC Number: EJ742138
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
Renegotiating the Historical Narrative: The Case of American Higher Education
Mattingly, Paul H.
History of Education Quarterly, v44 n4 p577-596 Win 2004
This conversation begins with two observations: first, the professional organizations--conferences and journals--need to play more self-conscious, activist roles in shaping scholarly canons. Second, whatever canon now presides over American higher educational history is an extremely tolerant one. So much of current scholarship seems to arise out of particularly local interests, narrow specializations, or anniversary celebrations. Even more, rich case studies of particular institutions often omit any connection with a wider discourse. Too many essays of colleges and universities with rather singular histories seldom probe current scholarly wisdom to assess how issues and generalizations might be changed because of their particular case. The cumulative effect of this scholarship "from below" tends to erode any general consensus on central problems. In this article, the author presents James Anderson, Robert Church, Emmett Curran, and Marilyn Tobias, the scholars whose work clearly transcended the particular and who have substantively shaped the broader conceptions of this specialization, American higher education. These scholars have addressed broad, canonical issues and have confronted the dilemma of synthesis, i.e., condensation and the risk of oversimplification and the danger of polarizing old and new for the sake of advancing a special insight. Here, the author turns to these scholars for a discussion about scholarly canons and proposes to put three questions to them and to their work by way of assessing the current status of this scholarly niche. (Contains 13 footnotes.)
History of Education Society. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Educational Policy Studies, 360 Education Building MC-708, 1310 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820. Tel: 217-333-2446; Fax: 217-244-7064; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A