- Undermining Authority: Restoring Intellectual Relevance in an Anti-Intellectual Democracy
- AUDEM: The International Journal of Higher Education and Democracy
- State University of New York Press
- Volume 4, 2013
- pp. 38-53
- View Citation
- Additional Information
The responsibility of the well-educated individual to use her knowledge to improve the human condition dates back to The Republic, in which Plato introduced his concept of the just society and a disciplined courage that both discerns and identifies publicly those things that stand in the way of achieving it. This chapter focuses on the difficulties of American university faculty’s practicing as public intellectuals in a political climate in which intellectuals have largely failed to successfully challenge the dominant national narrative that characterizes them as members of an elite class whose views are irrelevant, if not subversive and dangerous, and in a university environment that not only fails to reward but may overtly discourage such efforts. Strategies for reclaiming that narrative in order to enhance the university’s ability to properly respond to important national and international issues, as well as reforming the university as an institution through which education for democratic participation is encouraged, are discussed.