Scholarship and Freedom

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Product Details

Harvard University Press
Publish Date
4.8 X 8.3 X 0.8 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Geoffrey Galt Harpham is Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. He was President and Director of the National Humanities Center from 2003 to 2015 and is author of The Humanities and the Dream of America and What Do You Think, Mr. Ramirez? The American Revolution in Education.


Geoffrey Harpham outflanks those who believe that scholarship must resist political engagement and those who believe that politics cannot be avoided by scholars who live and work in the real world. Harpham argues persuasively that the scholar's devotion to truth is itself a potent political act because it has the power to 'clear the ground for a better set of arrangements based on truth.' In short, the purer scholarship is, the more politically useful it will be. A bold and welcome thesis.--Stanley Fish, author of The First: How to Think about Hate Speech, Campus Speech, Religious Speech, Fake News, Post-Truth, and Donald Trump
An extraordinary paean to scholarship as an embattled Enlightenment ideal and as a practice devoted to the pursuit of reliable truths about human affairs, wherever that pursuit may lead. Harpham's surprising argument is that scholarship inevitably leads to freedom--that independent thinking challenges calcified orthodoxies. His exempla, W. E. B. Du Bois, Bernard Lategan, and Linda Nochlin, give us ample reason to believe. A bracing book for dark times.--Michael BΓ©rubΓ©, author of What's Liberal about the Liberal Arts?
A distinctive and powerful book. A sharp introduction, three well-wrought case studies, and an eloquent conclusion offer the reader a brilliant, polemical account of why scholarship in the humanities and social sciences still matters.--Anthony Grafton, author of Inky Fingers: The Making of Books in Early Modern Europe