Social Education 55(5) pps. 334-340
©1991 National Council for the Social Studies
by David Jenness. New York: Macmillan, 1990. 479 pp. $34.95 hardcover. Reviewed by Jack L. Nelson.This book, a publication of the National Commission on Social Studies in the Schools and written by the commission's scholar in residence, is part of a project intended to address "what teachers should teach and children should learn" in social studies (xiii). The author, David Jenness, is a commission member and is identified as a professional writer and social scientist.
The claims made in the title and advertising are difficult to achieve. Making sense of a field as complicated as social studies is a challenge. Both the advance advertising brochure and the book cover claim that this book is "the most comprehensive history and assessment of social studies ever written." That is a greater challenge, and a bit presumptive.
Unfortunately, the book does not fulfill either of these interrelated challenges. The author has struggled to make sense of social studies by fitting the field into a preconceived and traditional structure. The lack of comprehensiveness in coverage of the literature of social studies does not enlighten his treatment. Thus, an already restricted vision of the field and the virtual disregard of alternative views have limited the sense-making and the comprehensiveness of the book.
The preface and the last chapter, which I consider the best parts of the book, suggest that making sense of social studies is valuable for understanding a realm that is not self-evident, and that "social studies should be rich, various, realistic, idealistic-and tentative and rough-and-ready" (xviii). Further, the author indicates that "the hallmark of good social studies in the schools...is a kind of creative and critical (that is, an evaluative) thoughtfulness" (xix). These comments are consistent with the best thinking in social studies and focus on the teacher-student relationship, with social studies having "both a cognitive and constructivist facet, and a political and cultural, even a rhetorical, character" (xix).
The last chapter cautiously suggests that some of the alarmist conservative reformers of the 1980s may not have had the answers and that social education is a complex and significant field, but the chapter lacks the informed critique provided by thoughtful works that Jenness should have examined. There is, nevertheless, at least a sensitivity here to the fundamental purposes and potentials of the seamless web that Charles Beard noted is the social studies, without the domination of traditional forms of historical trivia proposed by such writers as Diane Ravitch and Chester Finn.
Jenness himself identifies several of the many and severe limitations of his book. He exempts recent research on learning, cognition, and pedagogy from his review. He does not intend to examine sociological or demographic aspects of schooling or various cultural forms or political purposes of education-a serious limitation. And he does not extensively consider textbooks. These recognized limits leave significant gaps in the scholarly understanding of social studies.
The unrecognized limits, however, are even more problematic. Jenness, who writes well and is usually clear, has produced a book that is over-reliant on secondary sources, is without apparent use of the NCSS archives at Teachers College, Columbia University, and is virtually uninformed by the substantial critical literature of the field. Further, it is dominated by a traditionalist and narrow perspective. The book contains many footnotes to and adequately summarizes a broad range of commonly known educational and social science literature, but it is much more superficial than one expects from the claims made. It is simply another political document supportive of the commission's narrow view of social studies.
Far less than half the book-about 100 pages-is spent treating the history of social studies curriculum. Jenness devotes a larger segment of the book to a general treatment of historical information about several-but not all-of the subject fields used in social education. He essentially dismisses such fields as women's, ethnic, and law-related studies, as well as much of the work in global, social issues, religious, philosophy, and values education. His framework is similar to that of the social studies projects of the 1960s that tried to make sense of the so-called structure of selected academic disciplines, but he does not even treat that period in as much depth as is found in that 1960s literature.
In an effort to judge the claim of comprehensiveness made for this book, I examined the sources of ideas used by Jenness. The book's index illustrates its narrow intellectual limits. Most significant, there are no citations to works by critical authors in education or social studies. Despite his focus on the general setting of education as background to the history of social studies, Jenness ignores the critical historians and scholars of education-e.g., Michael Katz, Colin Greer, Barbara Preseissen, Martin Carnoy, Herbert Gintis, and Clarence Karier. In particular, I had trouble imagining a "comprehensive" treatment of the field that completely ignores such productive and provocative social studies scholars as Cleo Cherryholmes, Michael Apple, Jean Anyon, Henry Giroux, Thomas Popkewitz, William Stanley, and James Whitson; but Jenness did it.
Incredibly, the book contains no citations to such important long-term social studies scholars as Jack Fraenkel, William Joyce, Byron Massialas, Geneva Gay, James Banks, David Naylor, Susan Adler, Peter Martorella, Patrick Ferguson, Carole Hahn, John Michaelis, Stuart Palonsky, Allen Glenn, and many others. Further, one of the most significant authors in post-World War II social studies is the late Lawrence Metcalf; Jenness merely footnotes one work cowritten by Metcalf, and offers no citation to Metcalf's significant methods text and other critical pieces. Stanley Wronski also gets but one brief footnote. My ego was initially tweeked that my thirty years of publications did not merit even that, until I realized that I was in especially good company.
I received a copy of Macmillan's other treatment of the field, Handbook of Research on Social Studies Teaching and Learning, edited by James Shaver, at about the same time I received the Jenness book, allowing me to compare the two books' index citations. The Shaver volume, much more comprehensive, was written by about fifty recognized scholars in social studies with chapters reviewed by many other scholars. I selected the most frequently cited references in the Handbook index and compared the names with those most cited by Jenness. Surprisingly, Jenness cites less than one-third of the scholars most frequently cited in the Handbook. This suggests that Jenness relied largely on works outside of those considered scholarly within the social studies field. Ironically, Jenness is not cited in the Handbook.
If Jenness did not look to the most prominent social studies scholars as main intellectual sources, I wondered, where did he look? It turns out that among the most cited authors in Jenness's book are Diane Ravitch (twenty-five citations), Chester Finn (ten), the late Hazel Hertzberg (eighteen), and Arthur Bestor (ten). (Hertzberg is the one clear social studies scholar, and her main efforts in recent years were aimed at reestablishing the domination of history in the field.) E.D. Hirsch gets nine citations and William Bennett gets five. John Dewey rates many citations, but the treatment of Dewey emphasizes his mainstream interests and his distance from the Progressive Education Association. Clearly, Jenness finds the most traditional and conservative views of the field persuasive, but scant evidence exists that he examined opposing views.
In summary, this book is skewed and limited in coverage and is unexpectedly superficial. It is manageable for the general reader but is misleading in its claims. It fits the commission context as a defense of tradition without critical examination. n
Jack L. Nelson
Professor of Education
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Making Sense of Social Studies, by David Jenness. New York: Macmillan, 1990. 479 pp. $34.95 hardcover. Reviewed by Richard E. Gross.
In Making Sense of Social Studies, David Jenness attempts to trace the development of the social studies program in the schools over the past century in light of important factors and changes in the surrounding social environment, as well as in relation to overall conditions within education. Unfortunately, Jenness devotes too much space to the enveloping forces and offers too little revealing detail about the social studies. The book focuses on curriculum issues and developments; but much more than changes in the curriculum itself must be included if one is to make sense of the ups and downs of the field.
A major segment of this volume (165-328) is devoted to examinations of the separate social science disciplines. Included are comprehensive treatments of growth and changes of subject matter in the social studies curriculum from the early 1900s, through the epochal NEA Report of 1916 (which led to the first true social studies courses in the high schools), and up to the present.
Although the National Commission on Social Studies in the Schools, established in 1984-1985, clearly is concerned with the fragmentation and marginalization of the social studies field, as well as the lack of a commonly accepted definition of social studies, the reader is never quite sure why the commission chose to produce this volume. The commission was a joint project of the American Historical Association, the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the Organization for American Historians. Jenness was the commission's scholar in residence, and its board of directors included academicians, school administrators, professional educators, school teachers, and representatives of several other national groups and organizations. In one sense establishment of the commission was an action considered long overdue by those who had felt a need for significant national "direction" over the past fifty years. Seven years after the commission's origination, however, a sound and well-founded base for local school district curriculum planning in our field remains a real void.
The commission members apparently hoped that this book would constitute a statement setting forth the essentials in history and social studies curriculums, especially in the area of citizenship education. Unfortunately, the book does not provide this. In the formal introductory statement, the commission officers also decry the failure to agree on a needed "unifying synthesis" for the field. Ultimately, the commission appointed a task force that attempted to meet their foregoing concerns. Charting a Course: Social Studies for the 21st Century, published in 1989, attempted to establish goals and priorities for the social studies field, and to present a possible scope and sequence which, incidentally, has provoked considerable debate. By contrast, Making Sense of Social Studies does not attempt to establish a concrete program or to push the directions of change.
Frequent references to related matters or content in other portions of the volume render the book's organization problematic and results in some unnecessary duplication. The book is a sort of history, although arguably an incomplete one since it focuses on only one major aspect of the field-its disciplinary and subject matter cores. Minimal attention is paid to important occurrences and practices in methodology and instruction. In the social studies, understanding the basic links between content and procedures can help to explain the growth and challenges in the field. This cannot be attained without a greater amount of attention to process and accompanying learning activities than are offered in this volume.
The book also pays inadequate attention to the role and contributions of the National Council for the Social Studies in the evolution of the field. Granted, the majority of social studies teachers have never been members of the council and most state curriculum decisions and local guides and programs have been made with little reference to NCSS and its reports and recommendations. Moreover, NCSS leadership has often been too isolated from teachers and administrators in the schools. Nevertheless, in spite of the author's review of a massive number of cited volumes and sources throughout the book, he makes few references to prime council documents and to certain crucial articles that have appeared in Social Education and in Theory and Research in Social Education.
A number of citations appear and reappear in this book, suggesting that the author may have been too dependent upon a few select sources. For example, there are twenty-five page citations to the works and opinions of Diane Ravitch, a scholarly historical author. When a writer such as Dr. Ravitch, who holds strong and sometimes biased views about aspects of the social studies, is used, one expects to find balancing references to those who have questioned elements of her positions. Those do not appear.
Chapters in the book vary in quality. Certainly, if several of the overly brief treatments had been extended to satisfy everyone, the book would have become elephantine. But several chapters do not extend proper justice to the topics discussed. Chapter 16, on the preparation of teachers, is the best example of this. This chapter is seriously lacking in necessary treatment of certain factors affecting the quality of social studies education. More attention could be paid, for example, to discussions of
(1)controlling the entry of quality personnel into the field,
(2)administrative assignment of ill-prepared teachers,
(3)the need to alter and increase state certification requirements for social studies licensing,
(4)the danger of allowing instructors with less than satisfactory social studies minors to instruct, and
(5)improving the educational portions of teacher training, particularly noting the successes of universities now requiring fifth-year professional programs.
Furthermore, an enlarged treatment of textbook publication and the entire enterprise of textbook adoption, detailing exactly how these volumes relate to curricular frameworks and guides, especially at the state level, would be revealing. And, beyond printed publications, the role and effects of other media in and upon the curriculum is certainly now in order.
The book also suffers from a lack of considerable pertinent research, the results of which might have served to guide more satisfactory curriculum instruction and implementation. Jenness apparently consulted neither the excellent guides and summaries available from the Social Science Education Consortium in Boulder, Colorado, nor the recorded library of extensive interviews with former and current leading social studies educators available on tape at the University of Texas. Although valuable research findings may be limited, Jenness's failure to recognize the need for and to urge extensive, long-term, and sound field piloting growing out of research evidence as a base for continuing improvement of social studies curricula, is disturbing. Such examination and evaluation could well resolve some of the overly extensive debate and buttress the claims of social studies educators as to the value of the programs and emphases they have forwarded.
Another important aspect of program building not well treated in this volume relates to the value of a detailed examination of representative programs of curriculum revision in several states. The entire complex process of the development of curriculum committee reports, of local, state, and national pressures and influences, and of the argumentation and compromise that marks the development of finally "officiaquot; and "approved" curricula need to be explicated. These factors have had a serious influence on the evolution of the social studies. For example, the new California Curriculum Framework is often cited. Much more revealing would have been a careful analysis and report of the substantial forces and influences, people, and organizations that helped evolve the program and that are now forwarding this history-centered program across the United States.
Chapter 14, devoted to tests and evaluation, is well balanced and makes a number of important statements and recommendations in regard to test use, interpretation of scores, national norms, and typical, uninterpretable results. Many social studies teachers admit that sound assessment is a weakness in their program of instruction. In recent years, tests have materially improved; but we still have a long way to go in properly extending assessment beyond the typical paper-and-pencil procedures and then, if we finally gain more valid and reliable assessment results, reporting and using these results in an appropriate manner. We need to extend skill assessment. Jenness concludes this chapter by suggesting that "we consider some of the evidence that social studies may be so ambiguously understood and so thoroughly multiple in approach that the favorite charge of the critics-that social studies is muddled, unclear as to its purposes, unstable as to its procedures-may be justified" (344).
This book is well written and generally succeeds in an objective presentation. Now and then the author cannot help but comment or provide his opinion on causes or results related to the topic at hand. Such asides or suggestions by an outside scholar are appropriate. When an author has spent several years working on a publication such as this, certainly we can profit from even more of his conjectures and, indeed, they should not be limited to brief bottom-of-the-page notes.
Overall, the author seems to imply that geography, anthropology, or sociology, for example, could each serve well as the central carrier of social education in the schools. Indeed, in my visits to many schools in a number of foreign countries I have found that the best social studies teaching is frequently provided by the geographers who sensibly integrate archeology, anthropology, economics, history, Earth science, and a number of other disciplines into their lessons. I have also found that history classes are frequently the most staid and "unsocial." Jenness, however, believes that history is the most logical carrier of the program because it has long dominated the United States school curriculum and because the majority of social studies instructors are most familiar with that discipline. He points out that over the years in most local and state programs we have found only a true social studies organization and approach in some classes in civics and in government and in the old 12th grade "problems of democracy" course. The latter was meant to be a yearlong capstone social studies offering that has dwindled seriously under the prejudices of other curricular proponents and curriculum making by legislative fiat which has moved U.S. government and economics, with electives, into the 12th grade as but half-year requirements or options.
Several chapters of the book are devoted to history. The exposition of differences within the historical profession, as well as between history-oriented reformers and the proponents of social studies, are clear and fair. Jenness includes a good discussion of the appearance of the "new history" (1920s and 1930s)-actually a form of social studies-and its move toward a more social and current emphases (and away from mere fact memorization). In commenting upon the changes of the 1960s and 1970s, which, he argues, did not materially damage history's place in the curriculum, and on the present strident demands of reformers, he reports that their claim appears to be "a 180-degree turn in its calculation of benefits to education, from the spirit of the New History of seventy-five years ago" (272). He concludes "that the overriding debate cannot be history versus the other social studies. Both confront the same choices" (297).
Jenness holds some hope that the current calls for global education may serve to reinforce the social studies in the curriculum; but not if it means the usual world history offering. He cites academic critics who have long criticized the world history survey course; but many of the studies that have revealed world history to be the least liked of all social studies courses with high school students are not mentioned. The typical yearlong survey world history classes in the 9th or 10th grades have damaged that course beyond recovery. However, two-year blocks of world cultures or world regions that tie social science and history knowledge together and that draw upon selected themes or eras, especially with a contemporary emphasis, can prove valuable in heightening high school students' interest in international studies.
The place and handling of controversial issues in the social studies curriculum is treated only indirectly in Making Sense of Social Studies. The book cites anathemas to and fears regarding the use of the problems approach in affecting the development of true social studies; but the book should have given greater attention to the question of the place of "hot issues" in the social studies program. NCSS and several other professional organizations have provided valuable statements and documents in this regard, but they go unreported.
A major gap in the volume is the author's failure to include a thorough, separate chapter on the issues surrounding citizenship education and its relation to and place in the social studies. It is not enough to have a section in the chapter on political study and numerous other references throughout the book devoted to this crucial topic. For example, Jenness makes separate references to several contemporary programs aimed at both improving and enlivening citizenship education through community-oriented activities; but he fails to note that their antecedents and roots go back in part to the citizenship education movement during and following World War II.
It is dangerous in any volume such as this to neglect related former contributions. Newcomers to the field can be led to overestimate the originality of freshly popularized programs. (Just two of numerous such practices many people think of as new, role-playing and cooperative learning, can be traced back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and earlier.)
Jenness certainly does recognize key problems in the social studies. He sounds a long-time criticism of the negative effect of sheer redundancy in schooling (195). He refers to the serious difficulties resulting from the multiplicity and incompatibility of stated goals (203). He evidently holds sympathetic views about what a broad field social studies should be. I also find evidence, however, of the unfortunate influence of a limited number of presently popular conservative or traditional forces. This may well be a reflection of the actual current situation. These are factors that each reader will need to take into consideration.
In the last chapter of the book Jenness makes clear that he understands the concept of the social studies as a field in itself, more than an alliance of related subjects under a common umbrella-the situation that has existed through much of the history of the social studies and that some critics acting as reforming reformers are now reinforcing.
To anyone reasonably conversant in the field of the social studies, little new information appears in this publication. Nevertheless, Jenness has drawn together many related elements of the story he is reporting and provides valuable summaries of certain key developments in those chapters that include adequate detail and depth. Because of each reader's personal experiences with schooling, his or her educational assumptions, and the ways in which we interpret the written word, each of us will gain varying insights and have different reactions to this book. Concerned educators should read and decide for themselves the degree to which the book helps them make sense of the social studies and provides them with important guideposts for next steps in the preservation and extension of the social studies. n
Richard E. Gross
School of Education
Not by Fact Alone: Essays on the Writing and Reading of History, by John Clive. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989. 334 pp. $27.50 hardcover. Reviewed by James Mackey.
Not by Fact Alone examines the histories of Edward Gibbon, Thomas Macaulay, Thomas Carlyle, Jacob Burckhardt, Elie Halevy, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Karl Marx for clues as to what made them great historians. The author, the late John Clive, calls this kind of study cliography and claims that the historians' personal crises and childhood influences shape the way they write and provide them with the techniques that make their works memorable. Lessons for history teachers are clear.
Clive, director of the Center for History and Literature at Harvard University for nearly thirty years, won the National Book Award for Macaulay: The Shaping of the Historian, in 1974. In 1989, Not by Fact Alone received the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. Twenty-seven essays, which appeared as learned articles, book reviews, radio addresses, or speeches, comprise this volume.
The masters vividly illustrate their tricks of the history writing trade. Macaulay, for example, excels in the art of transition. He drapes his narratives over a scaffold of seemingly haphazard anecdotes, best demonstrated by the famous third chapter of A History of England, in which he moves from the state of the roads to female education to Restoration licentiousness. Clive says Macaulay's rich visual imagination creates vivid word pictures that propel his writing ahead before the readers tire of his description. These word pictures tie the otherwise seemingly random anecdotes together. Macaulay's imagination sets events in motion, and "exploit[s] to the full the dynamic potential of what in other hands would have been merely a static situation or social setting."
Ironic wit distinguishes Edward Gibbon's work. His most characteristic literary device is to open a paragraph by describing an apparent situation and then closing it (usually with a qualifying conjunction) by describing the situation's actual decay. Throughout his work Gibbon employs humor to explode pomposity. He describes Voltaire's history as casting "a keen and lively glance over the surface of history," and calls corruption "the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty."
Like a detective novelist, Elie Halevy, the author of England in 1815, holds the readers in suspense as his exposition unfolds. Alexis de Tocqueville, however, uses the power of the illuminating instance. When Tocqueville, pioneer in the use of historical sociology and probably the most empirical historian before the twentieth century, needs to demonstrate the chasm between the French classes in the "old regime," he does not use tables and charts. He resorts to an illuminating instance showing Madame Duchaltelet undressing "in the presence of her menservants," unable to believe that mere lackeys are real flesh and blood men.
Clive, however, provides more important reasons for studying the great historians. The process provides a passageway through which we may view the mental and moral universe of extraordinarily sensitive and gifted writers, and in examining the worlds they have created, to bear witness to their pioneering efforts to "expand both the scope of historical knowledge and the means to obtain it."
Clive explores how Jacob Burckhardt forcefully confronts the strange mixture of good and evil he found in fifteenth century Italy. Burckhardt describes how the ferocious internecine battles in Perugia supplied Raphael with impressions for his greatest paintings and how Lodovico il Moro, a despot so evil that he "disarms our moral judgement," was able to attract Leonardo to his court. Throughout The Civilization of the Renaissance, Burckhardt persists in asking whether the moral price was worth paying.
Clive shows how Tocqueville, who began as a biologist searching for the laws of life in French society, concluded "the ultimate currents running below the surfaces of the lives of the states and societies will not yield to scientific analysis, but will remain forever mysterious."
Not by Fact Alone destroys the notion that the great historians have been superseded and outdated. Studying the great historians and their works illuminates the nature of historical imagination and personality. Clive's greatest achievement is in showing the absolute and complete personal commitment the great historians took to their work and in demonstrating how their histories became the consuming objectives into which they poured all their beliefs and emotions. (In one instance, for example, Macaulay is reported to have read twenty books in order to write a single line.) The great historian's inspiring and charming commitment is nowhere more clearly shown than in Gibbon's comment about origins of The Decline and Fall. He wrote, "It was in Rome, on the 15th of October, 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while the barefoot friars were singing vespers in the Temple of Jupiter, that the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city first started to my mind."
John Clive's final work is lovely, lively, and deep. Because it comprises essays published over many years there is some redundancy, and a few of Clive's favorite topics are referenced frequently. These niggling criticisms, however, are excused easily in the best book on the art and craft of history to appear in many years. n
Professor of Curriculum and Instruction
College of Education
University of Minnesota
Killing the Spirit: Higher Education in America, by Page Smith. New York: Viking Penguin Books, 1990. 315 pp. $19.95 hardcover. Reviewed by Eileen V. Hilke.
Killing the Spirit is an impressive book that provides an important contribution to understanding higher education. The book is an intriguing narrative history starting with origins of higher education in Europe and following through with stages of development in America. Page Smith, author of fourteen other books, uses his expertise to present a valuable and controversial book that will assist the reader in understanding the past and developing a viewpoint about shaping the future of higher education.
Smith begins with comments about the current state of higher education, then historically discusses topics such as the emergence of the university, the Ph.D. and tenure, the idea of publish or perish, science, social science and humanities, and women's studies. His discourse is set in a strong historical base. He notes famous people, resources, and trends throughout history.
The initial chapter highlights what the author believes has gone awry in the current academic scene. Smith identifies major themes such as the impoverishment of the spirit by academic fundamentalism, the flight from teaching, the meretriciousness of most academic research, the disintegration of the disciplines, the alliance of the universities with the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, and, more recently, with biotechnology and communications corporations, and last but not least, the corruptions incident to "big-time" collegiate sports. (1)
The subsequent chapters trace the development of state universities and the increase in number of private universities. Issues like coeducation, the elective system, and the war between science and religion in the curriculum are explored. The author provides historical data interspersed with interesting facts; for example, "In the single decade between 1890 and 1900, the number of university teachers increased by almost 100 percent, giving rise inevitably to the question of how capable people could have been recruited in such a short time" (68).
It is interesting to read about the development of the "major," i.e., major area of studies, which was proposed in 1885; then about the development of distributional studies as recommended by Yale in 1901. The intent in these two cases was to have students not only concentrate on an academic field but also have breadth of knowledge about other academic fields. We practice this today. We constantly discuss in our schools which courses best meet the distributional studies requirement.
It is fascinating to read about the famous Harvard report and President Truman's report reaffirming the need for general education and discussing the common experiences and knowledge students should have. Recently, Allan Bloom in his book The Closing of the American Mind, and former Secretary of Education, William Bennett, addressed the issue of specialized versus general education.
When deciding on a common core of subjects for general education, the idea of Western civilization or world civilization usually surfaces. Smith is clear in his vision of the importance of world civilization. He states:
Well before there was anything that could be identified as Western Civilization, hundreds of different cultures and peoples had poured their riches into a common store. Each new phase of history requires that our past history be rewritten to incorporate the new experience. We have to "get right" with the past in order to have a future. (150)
In another section, Smith focuses on the role of the professors in society and their relationships to the students. It is interesting to reflect on the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) guidelines dealing with faculty attitudes toward WWI. There was a strong sense of obligation and citizenship stated by AAUP. In some schools, faculty members were fired if they opposed the war and many members suffered for their convictions. The importance of citizenship was also evident in the elementary and high schools. Almost universal acceptance was given to practical education for citizenship.
In the 1920s professors and students communicated little in some universities because the professors felt their students were frivolous and anti-intellectual. As a result, some new experimental colleges were developed: Sarah Lawrence was committed to small classes and close contact with students and faculty, and Bennington College encouraged creativity; St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, was designed around formal seminars where thoughts from the great books were discussed.
In later years students took a more active role in their education and world affairs. Smith analyzes the student upheavals at Berkeley starting in 1964 and identifies three elements of the rebellion. The first is student dissatisfaction because junior or temporary faculty were doing most of the teaching and because the large size of the school created an impersonal setting. Another element is the civil rights movement in the South that drew young white liberals to join Southern blacks to fight against segregation. The third element was the Vietnam War. Smith's analysis of the problems is detailed and carefully documented. He also catches the spirit of the times by looking through the eyes of both the students and faculty.
Smith's thinking about the student revolts of the late 1960s includes the following charges made by students: alliance between universities and the federal government for grants for weapons research; neglect of teaching in favor of research; lack of interest in the students and inaccessibility of professors; and institutional racism, to name a few. He contends the changes made by students in the mid to late 1960s are equally valid today.
Smith understands the feelings in the 1960s when he discusses communal living and its emphasis on the environment, organic food, peace, spiritual experiences, and the development of powerful groups and cults. In relationship to the university, Smith says:
The campus activists of the sixties made their critiques of the universities as educational institutions. Their hope was to reform the universities and thereby make them agencies of a more generous and humane world. They gave evidence of wishing to work "within the system" to reform it. The communards and cultists, some of whom had been numbered among the activists, made their own kind of critique by simply rejecting every aspect of the rational, scientific world of academe. Theirs was the politics of denial. (176)
One chapter is devoted to women's studies. The advent of the women's movement brought coursework designed specifically for women. The universities began to employ women faculty in greater numbers than ever and also altered the curriculum. Smith contends that the universities were male-dominated and uncongenial for women and that women came to the universities on male terms. Women had a "gender agenda" that called for equality. The University of California at Santa Cruz, for example, offered eighty courses whose principal focus was on women. The author considers this excessive and speculates upon its effect on male students.
The author also shows sensitivity to the self-esteem of the assistant professor who spends five or six years in graduate school and another six years waiting for tenure. Smith discusses the capriciousness of the system and shares personal accounts with readers.
Smith offers ideas to break stereotypes of college teaching. He states that 80 to 90 percent of all university instruction is by the lecture method. His ideas of teaching shed a different light on the role of the teacher. "I came away from my years of teaching on the college and university level with a conviction that enactment, performance, dramatization are the most successful forms of teaching" (210).
The book also has humorous elements. When the author was teaching Dante's Divine Comedy, for example, he asked his students to devise modern hells for modern sins. Students proposed that professors who neglected their students be required to listen to their own lectures for eternity.
The author explains that most faculty enjoy teaching but are expected to perform research to achieve professional advancement. For example, he mentions the study by Dwight R. Ladd (1979, 121) that reported "three-fourths of the faculty surveyed agreed that their interests lean toward teaching [as contrasted with research] and agree that teaching effectiveness, not publications, should be the primary criterion for promotion of faculty." Smith also states:
Now that I have demonstrated conclusively that the vast majority of what passes for research/publication in the major universities of America is mediocre, expensive, and unnecessary, does not push back the frontiers of knowledge in any appreciable degree, and serves only to get professors promotions, it may be appropriate to give some consideration to teaching. (199)
He believes that good teaching is difficult, demanding, and very important, but when tenure and promotion are considered, more than teaching is viewed. Both research and publication are expected.
Smith traces this problem from 1878 when Johns Hopkins started a university press, and then in 1893 when the University of California started a press to print scholarly monographs. Because of the pressure to publish, there was a problem of quantity of manuscripts (sometimes without quality) that led to some delays of up to four years from journal acceptance to their publication. Some career advancements would be jeopardized because of the delay. Changes in publishing practices began taking place. In addition to conventional publishing, the author explains the acceptance of "fractionaquot; publishing where a press-ready manuscript is produced with a limited readership, and "on demand" publishing when the manuscript is recorded on film and published when an order is obtained. The University of Microfilm International (UMI) uses on demand ordering.
Smith also provides helpful guidelines, as in this quote about August Fruge: "Fruge himself has three measuring sticks or guidelines for choosing works that ought to have full publication. They are 1) significance of topic; 2) usefulness; 3) quality of mind" (186).
To deal with the two- to three-year backlog of articles in prestigious journals, more journals were created. Academic disciplines began fragmenting into subfields. In one ten-year period the language and literature journals rose from 54 to 215. The author also gives some tenure tricks dealing with publications. For example, "One of the stratagems employed by professors desperately seeking tenure is to keep submitting rejected articles to different journals so that they can write on their resumes 'under consideration by journal of such-and-such.' Not much, but better than nothing" (188).
Smith also recounts a few personal tales about publication problems. Educators who have poured their hearts and souls into manuscripts only to have them repeatedly rejected will relate to this segment of the book. In Smith's research, he found authors had given up submitting their manuscripts to a median number of eleven publishers and that 33 percent of the authors abandoned their quest for a publisher, reflecting many wasted months.
Smith places this problem in perspective when he states, "But the point that I wish to emphasize is that the real victims are the students that the professors might have been teaching and the taxpayers [and tuition payers] who are supporting the system that forces professors to behave in such an irrational [and costly] manner."
In the final chapter, "Reviving the Spirit," the author clearly points out that when the organizational structure of a university is indistinguishable from a major corporation, the spirit dies. He notes that 75 percent of the undergraduates receive inferior educations and restates his case against large universities that concentrate on research.
He also discusses academic fundamentalism. The author explains this as "the academic world's excluding a major portion of human experience in the name of science. The question, then, that confronts us is how to break the stranglehold of science and, more specifically, pseudo-science on the academic world" (297).
Smith poses a series of questions to challenge the reader to reflect on issues facing higher education. A sample includes: "Will the teachers teach? If they will, can they? What will they teach?"; "Can a more humane and sensible system of tenure be worked out? Or should the whole system be abandoned?" "Will the academic fundamentalists give up their 'scheme of orthodoxies' and allow some light and air into their closed minds?" These queries were followed by a quote from Robert Hutchins:
If education can contribute to a moral, intellectual and spiritual revolution, then it offers a real hope of salvation to suffering humanity everywhere. If it cannot, or will not, contribute to this revolution, then it is irrelevant and its fate is immaterial. (304)
Smith closes with:
But so strong is the hold on our minds and imaginations of what is that to make any substantial change in the way we think about the whole process or education will require, in David Bohm's words, "an energy, a passion, a seriousness, beyond even that needed to make creative and original discoveries in science, art, or in other such fields." (305)
Eberstadt asserts in the book's introduction that the record of the last forty years suggests "that something had gone badly wrong with America's development assistance efforts" (3). In order to understand how and why this happened, the author assesses criticism of U.S. policy and encourages the reader to think about ways to improve its effectiveness.
The history of U.S. foreign aid policy must be discussed, Eberstadt argues, in order to lay the foundation for further debate on future policies. He does a generally good job of placing U.S. foreign aid policy in its historical context in the chapter entitled "Postwar Recovery and the Liberal International Economic Order."
Teachers, the author asserts, must also make their students aware of the political agenda underlying foreign aid agencies' decisions and implementation strategies. Many economic plans appear to have noble purposes, but students should learn to compare abstract intentions and concrete results. Students may perceive a specific program as a naive attempt by the United States to guide a nation along the "right path," or as a deliberate attempt by the United States to seek economic benefits, regardless of the consequences. Eberstadt adequately discusses the interplay of the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government in the process of implementing these programs.
Next, the author briefly discusses the move toward "multilateralization," in which the United States began implementing its foreign aid policy through international agencies. In his explanation of the World Bank and the United Nations, Eberstadt only scratches the surface of some interesting foreign aid issues-for example, whether the U.S.'s influence in the United Nations should be proportional to the amount of money it contributes. The next chapter, "Origins of the Debt Crisis," places this issue in its historical context in relation to the United States and its economic position in the world during the 1970s and the 1980s.
"Foreign Aid in the 1980s" is perhaps the most useful chapter for both students and teachers. Here, Eberstadt discusses problems developing countries have faced and how U.S. foreign aid programs have helped them cope with those problems. According to the author, many third world leaders blame the inability to develop their countries as much as they would like on the lack of Western concessionary aid. Students would certainly benefit from further research on the effect of United States foreign aid policy on the economic goals of specific countries.
In the book's concluding chapter, Eberstadt proposes guidelines for the future of this type of government aid. He argues that United States "political, economic, and moral purposes" (57) should be reinforced by its foreign aid policy since its purposes are "fundamentally sound" (57). Another opportunity presents itself here for classroom debate: Are the policies of the United States fundamentally sound? Will the author's proposals solve any of the problems he has presented? Finally, the author views the economic strength of the United States as the country's biggest contribution to the world. Does the United States have a responsibility to fulfill this role?
Eberstadt sometimes uses specific terminology that is only explained completely in the glossary. Although the glossary itself is immensely helpful to the reader as a reference, it should not take the place of an adequate discussion of a term when it is first presented. This situation limits the book's usefulness to students who may not respond well to this arrangement and, in fact, might find it confusing. U.S. Foreign Aid Policy-A Critique is useful as a basis for classroom discussion. But it is just that: a basis. A teacher could, however, easily supplement the work by having students pursue their own research on related topics. Although it is not as useful when used alone, the work lays a more than adequate foundation for further inquiry into the issues it presents.
Kelly A. Woestman
Department of History
University of North Texas
Eileen V. Hilke
U.S. Foreign Aid Policy-A Critique, by Nicholas Eberstadt. New York: Foreign Policy Association, 1990. 64 pp. $4.00 paper. Reviewed by Kelly A. Woestman.
In U.S. Foreign Aid Policy-A Critique, Nicholas Eberstadt, visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and visiting fellow at the Harvard Center for Population Studies, provides the reader with an understanding of United States foreign aid policy by placing it in its historical context and discussing its implications for the future. Teachers will, no doubt, find the discussion questions presented at the end of the book especially helpful. The bibliography, however, although extensive for so concise a work, includes sources that might not be readily available to either teachers or students.