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Lessons in Progress State Universities and Progressivism in the New South, 1880-1920 cover
  • ISBN: 9780252026171
  • ISBN10: 0252026179

Lessons in Progress State Universities and Progressivism in the New South, 1880-1920

by Michael Dennis

  • List Price: $42.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr
  • Publish date: 04/01/2001
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Description
Lessons in Progress provides a detailed look at how progressivism transformed higher education in the New South. Orchestrated by an alliance of northern philanthropists and southern intellectuals, modernizing universities focused on practical, utilitarian education aimed at reinvigorating the South through technological advancement. They also offered an institutional vehicle by which a new, urban middle class could impose order on a society in flux.

Michael Dennis charts the emergence of the modern southern university through the administrations of four university presidents: Edwin Alderman (Virginia), Samuel C. Mitchell (South Carolina), Walter Barnard Hill (Georgia), and Charles Dabney (Tennessee). He shows how these administrative leaders worked to professionalize the university and to knit together university and state agencies, promoting a social service role in which university personnel would serve as expert advisors on everything from public health to highway construction. Dennis also explains how the programs of educational progressives perpetuated traditional divisions of race, sex, and class.

Seeking a more practical and socially responsible form of education, university modernizers succeeded in establishing the framework of a more modern, bureaucratic state. Despite their accomplishments, however, they failed to generate the kind of economic progress they had envisioned for the South.

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