Spring 2021 | Vol. 107, No. 2
Times of crisis always seem to bring out that fundamental and powerful human response of looking back toward a golden age, whose re-establishment in contemporary form is thought to be essential for successfully overcoming crisis. The darker the present, the more powerful the urge to look to the past for the ideal that the future is tasked to recapture.
Al societies appear to have a golden age somewhere in their cultural back pocket--and sometimes elements of society, important social actors, have very specific eddies of "gold" that they can mine within these rapidly receding times that look better and better as they move farther and farther from out experiences.
So it is with the world of the American academic community. In the face of a crisis, and the likley end of a century of more of less stable ideals of university education, a crisis with respect to which there is more than enough complicity to go around involving all of the academy's major stakeholders, even the complicit can look back and seek to replicate in modern form the essence of a past age which in retrospect now looks so appealing.
To that end, the American academy has sought solace in the Great Depression, and in the transformative changes that occurred then (judged in the rear view mirror of time of course) --now transposed in ways that are acceptable to modern sensibilities, to the contemporary age and its contemporary problems. Thus Academe's marvelously valuable Vol. 107(2). Whether or not one is open to the vision that its many essays develop, the volume itself serves as an extraordinary testimony not just to the times, but also to the passing of an age. And it is in the shadow of the hope that these essays advance, that one might see the darker forms of what actually lies ahead for the American academy. Links to the articles follow below.