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Alan Pogue in terms of its economic value or risk oblivion.” Talk of “a critical citizenry capable of governing itself’ has no place in the discourse of the market. For Aronowitz, the remaining questions are glum. Are there any “places of resistance” to “the prevailing trends in the undergraduate curriculum”? And “if learning, rather than training and political and ideological socialization were to become the mission of American higher education, what would it look like?” To the first question, Aronowitz has already given his general answer in his preface; and in a catalogue of despair, he now includes “elite institutions,” the Harvardian core curriculum \(“the elevation of incoherturalism, and assorted “studies” \(women’s, nothing,” from “third-tier schools” to the most elite, “that points the way to a genuine revival of intellectual culture.” Desperate though he may be, Aronowitz insists on going beyond mere resistance by striking out, constructively, in new directions; and he tries to answer his second question by describing at least the first two years of a college curriculum devoted to higher learning. Chapter 7, echoing the subtitle of the whole book, “Dismantling the Corporate University,” briefly describes six courses, which \(taught in one “rolling semiand sophomore years. Concentrating on the “four key college domains” of “history, literature, science, and philosophy,” the courses would “explore specific historical periods” with the intent “to find articulations between economic, political, and social currents, social and cultural movements, and knowledge orientations and, perhaps, to discover unexpected relationships with other cultures and contexts.” The subjects of the courses that would work this jargonic wonder are “the so-called ancient world” of Greece and Rome, “the science and philosophy of the East” \(the East being specified as “the feudal epoch…between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Early Renaissance,” “Enlightenment philosophy and science in the context of the development of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution,” “modernity,” and “the twentieth century.” I have to suspect that these pretentious courses, which Aronowitz describes mainly by name-dropping \(e.g., Dante, Marlowe, Shakespeare, et seq. through Gogol to would in fact serve students lots of very thin soup. I know no institution that would long no place where competent and willing teachers for it could be found, and no students who could easily be persuaded to undertake it. A maverick marching to his own drummer wants to impose his maverick education on possibly resistant students, and from his proposal I learned more about Aronowitz the autodidact than about practicable innovation. And yet…. failed in his admirable effort to go beyond resistance and to offer a constructive alternative to Bushitis and Greenspannery, his criticism of the corporate university de serves all honor. My notes are full of his quotables: In big public universities, the state in effect “assumes the costs of research intended for use in privately held production and services.” “Private universities like to call themselves a public ‘trust,’ but…they live off the public trough” i.e., “federal grants.” “The notion that the university has a critical as well as research function has disappeared from the discourse.” “Abysmal teachers routinely win tenure if they produce useful knowledge or deliver elegant scholarship.” “Having adopted the framework and the ideology of the large corporation, universities and colleges…have also used budget cuts to effect a decisive power shift from faculty to administration.” None of those factual observations is new, but the courage to make them is less commonplace. Even Clark Kerr’s old metaphor of the knowledge factory, which enraged Mario Savio in Berkeley in the Sixties, can still strike sparks. It reminded me of my own pet figure, the university as plantation. 01′ Massa is a C.E.O. who may choose a more elegant residence than the plantation, but he is dutifully served by administrators as obishas threaten whipping if hungry field hands ask for an extra ration of ‘taters. The field hands are untenurable faculty, teaching assistants, and staff. Above them are the yard niggers, the untenured but tenurable faculty and commonplace professors; and at the peak Of the faculty hierarchy are the star professors, who sometimes may even forget that they are still house niggers. I like the plantation metaphor because it emphasizes the brutality of hierarchy in a collapsing system that faces reconstruction. I particularly like the equation of adminisobishas, whom neither superiors nor inferiors respected. But there’s one difficulty. Where does Aronowitz fit in the plantation scheme? He works on the plantation; but after thinking about it, I’ve concluded he’s so ornery that he must have been born free. Let freedom ring! 0 James Sledd is a honky who passes for a yard nigger emeritus at U.T.-Austin. SEPTEMBER 8, 2000 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 27