The Capitalist University

The Transformations of Higher Education in the United States, 1945-2016

Henry Heller

The Capitalist University

Henry Heller

Distributed for Pluto Press

264 pages | 5 1/3 x 8 1/2 | © 2016
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780745336589 Published December 2016 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada
Higher education news today can more or less be boiled down to one sentence: the university is in crisis. Skyrocketing student debt, decreased public financing, the weakening of tenure, the rise of adjunct labor, battles over the value of the humanities, calls for skills focused instruction—all the problems besetting contemporary higher education in the United States are interrelated, and they can all be traced to one fact: campuses and classrooms are now battlegrounds in the struggle between knowledge for its own sake and commodified learning.
            Henry Heller offers here a magisterial account of the modern university that shows exactly how we’ve reached this point. Taking readers from the early Cold War—when support for universities was support for capitalism—through the countless social, political, and educational changes of the ensuing decades, Heller reveals how American educational institutions have been forced to decide between teaching students to question the dominant order and helping to perpetuate it. And they’ve had to do so knowing that all the pressure politics and finance was pushing for the latter.
            Heller covers such key moments as McCarthyism and the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, as well as contemporary struggles including the attempts at unionization of post-doctorals, the National Adjuncts Walkout Day in 2015, the protests in Missouri related to race, workplace benefits, and leadership, and the firing of Steven Salaita for his pro-Palestinian tweets, which sparked a huge controversy around free speech and academic freedom. The Capitalist University is a thoroughly grounded radical history of an institution whose influence and importance—and failures—reach deep into American political and social life.
 
Contents
Preface

Introduction

1.Birth of the Corporate University
2.The Humanities And Social Sciences In The Cold War (1945-60)
3.The Sixties
4.The Retreat From History 1980-2008
5.The Neoliberal University

Notes
Bibliography
Review Quotes
Michael Perelman, California State University, and author of The Invention of Capitalism
"The Capitalist University is a tour de force - a welcome successor to Thorstein Veblen's classic The Higher Education in America. Heller carefully explains how the university system is used to shape students and society as a whole to reinforce and expand the influence of capitalism. Nonetheless, Heller shows how some scholars were still able to generate valuable critical knowledge."
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