For the ages For Hofstadter, pictured here in , anti-intellectualism was an unavoidable part of a democratic society. (Erich Hartmann / Magnum Photos). Anti-intellectualism in American Life was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Non- Fiction. It is a book which throws light on many features of the American. Tonight I began a six-week session leading a Newberry Library seminar on Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.

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Hofstadter’s main problem, as far as I can tell, is that he doesn’t have a working definition for intellectual. It resulted in an emphasis on practical education and applied science rather than philosophy, literature and basic science. After America became industrialized and business more complex, higher education began offering more engineering, accounting and law. We are suffering for it to this day, to be honest.

I imagine this is generally done in good faith, but sometimes I have to imagine there is jealousy or anger towards colleagues or the intellectual establishment that prompts this sort of thing.

Mar 16, Sebastien rated it it was amazing Shelves: It will lead us to the point where there will be two national schools in the country–one for the military and the other for civil education. For the historian, Dewey’s attitude towards the child is “more romantic and primitivist It is excellent and in depth and sadly much of it is still perfectly relevant.

Schools in America originally conformed to European standards as a way to prepare the upper classes for further academic studies. Most recent books seem to treat this as a recent phenomenon, and often as only a function of something like stupidity. Learning physiology, for example, has at times been considered less useful than learning how to exercise, although the latter is an extension of the former. First, there is a definite sense, evidenced by the course, that Anti-Intellectualism deserves renewed attention.


The fundamentalist religion with a fundamental Americanism often exhibits a mind totally committed and entirely refuse of challenge. Anything goes, anybody can post a website, it’s easy, let’s pass our days “surfing”: Both books traced endemic sociological pathologies: Jan 04, Pages Buy.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Tim Lacy December 7, Presumably most American intellectuals in the young 21st century make a living in think tanks or in the groves of academe which phrase Mary McCarthy borrowed for her satiric novel. The lack of respect school teachers have today is still prevalent.

It is not a book you read in one sitting though, best to read in slow morsels, digest, think about Book-readers generally become aspiring intellectuals. He argues that Dewey’s single-minded belief that schools should nofstadter “on the developing interests and needs of the child” has resulted in a range of distortions and perversions, all of which reinforce the anti-intellectual stance of the education establishment.

Intellectuals became reformers and as such were stigmatized as effeminate and incapable of dealing with the tough real world. The myth can be a lens through which to interpret various administrations. In this book, Hofstadter set out to trace the social movements that altered the role of intellect in American society. As a result of misapplied Deweyan progressivism, itself fundamentally inconsistent, public education has pushed the anti-ihtellectualism kids aside: In this essay I shall touch upon particular areas of its abiding currency.

It was much easier than I thought to find criticisms, not ever having deeply explored the immediate reception of the book. The creative drive of the true intellectual is loneliness. We face many of the same problems now that we did 50 years ago when this was written, which is really a mind-bogglingly sad fact.


Complete list — — — It is aligned with creativity; even the most serious poetry must have a strong element of this, as must wit, and quite probably most high-quality writing.

He argues that, by the mid-twentieth century, anti-intellectualism was pervasive but not dominant in American culture, claiming that “the greater part of the public By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Read it Forward Read it first. Afterwards years of pent up resentment by the right wing exploded in the form of McCarthyism targeting not just anti-kntellectualism and fellow travelers but all intellectuals, New Dealers and liberals.

Refresh and try again. Just ask Louie Gohmert. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter | : Books

Hofstadter makes the case, for example, that Dewey’s definition of education as growth of the child without end or qualification is fraught with problems, and that his conception of curriculum remained, of necessity, vague.

As an historian, he no doubt took solace from what he claims to be the cyclical nature of anti-intellectualism. The common man, Joe and Jane Six-Pack, distrusts the bookish man, relegates him to a corner well away from the spotlight. Overall the book is a fascinating look at how these waves of intellectualism and anti-intellectualism have affected the nation.