Partnering Courses

Histories and Futures of Humanistic Education:
Culture and Crisis, Books and MOOCs
Taught by David Palumbo Liu

Literature, College, Creativity, Corporation
Taught by Chistopher Newfield

Histories and Futures of Humanistic Education: Culture and Crisis, Books and MOOCs

Comparative Literature 265
Education 217X

W 1:15-4:05 pm

CERAS 101 (except Mar 5, see below)


David Palumbo-Liu

Candace Thille

Mitchell Stevens
Office hrs TBA

One of the most hotly debated topics today is online education.  Whatever your opinion, there is no doubt that it is and will continue to shape education in a profound way.  This course looks at, and debates, certain features of online education specifically as they relate to the humanities and notions of engaged critical learning.

It is designed as a collaborative course.  We will work in tandem with Professor Cathy’s Davidson’s course at Duke, “The History and Future of High Education,” and Professor Christopher Newfield’s course at UC Santa Barbara, “Literature, College, Creativity, Corporation. “ We will have four Google Hangouts with these classes, and use other forums to interact with them.  Each campus will use a slightly different syllabus, linked to each instructor’s particular angle into this general subject, but we will also have many readings and exercises in common.  We see this as a critical moment in education, and connect this topic to its historical, cultural, political, and ethical implications.

This course at Stanford concentrates on specific moments in history where the idea of education—what education is, for whom is it aimed, and with what values is it endowed—come into crisis.

We will look at early discussions about education and culture (Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy) and then works through several readings in American education to a key moment in the mid-twentieth century whose premises still have influence—the famous Two Cultures (humanities, sciences) debate.  We next delve into the radical responses to educational reform in France and the US in the late 1960s, and finally consider the changing state of funding, value, and cultural critique in the late twentieth and early-twenty-first century.

In particular we examine the idea of education as a personal, collective, and intensely intellectual endeavor that is shaped by and shapes societies.  We focus specifically on the idea of the “public good” and the relation between education and a democratic society.

This is a first-time, experimental course that will rely heavily on student input, participation, invention, and dialog face-to-face and collaboration with students at Duke, UC Santa Barbara, and elsewhere.  It meets once a week for three hours.


1940 AAUP Statement on Academic Freedom

Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy (“Introduction,” “Sweetness and Light,” “Barbarians, Philistines, Populace”).

“Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in a Digital Age”:

Cathy Davidson, Now You See It! (Introduction and Chapter 3)

Davidson, “How A Class Becomes a Community”:

Cathy Davidson and David Theo Goldberg, The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age

Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Chapters 1, 2, 3)

The G.I. Bill of 1944

Regenia Gagnier, “Operationalizing Hope: The Neoliberalization of British Universities”

H. Giroux, Teachers as Intellectuals (Chapters 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13)

Suzanne Guerlac, “Humanities 2.0: E-learning in the Digital World.”

Geoffrey Galt Harpham, “From Eternity to Here: Shrinkage in American Thinking About Higher Education”

Gregory Lee, “Tomorrow’s Humanities? Head in the Clouds, Back to the Future,       Across the World.”

Colleen Lye, Christopher Newfield, James Vernon, “Humanists and the Public          University.”

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go.

The Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890

Christopher Newfield, Unmaking the Public University (Chapters -18, 13, 15,         Conclusion)

Palumbo-Liu, The Deliverance of Others (Preface, Introduction, Chapter 3 [on          Never Let Me Go])

— “Introduction” to Occasion 6: Restructuring the Humanities.

Report of the President’s Commission on Higher Education in a Democracy in            1947

Howard Rheingold, Net Smart

The “Nanterre Manifesto”

The “Port Huron Statement”

K Ross, May ’68 and Its After-lives (Introduction, Chapters 1 and 2)

CP Snow, The Two Cultures

The Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois debate in the early 20th century

The Yale Report of 1828

Materials on “Pre-Texts” (see



Jonas qui aura 25 ans en l’an 2000 (Jonah, who will be 25 in the year 2000).  dir Tanner.

Entre les murs (The Class).  Dir. Cantet


Schedule (Hangout dates are in brackets—be sure to attend!)

1/8      Introductions. Create teams.  Choose biblio on MOOCs, join Fb group.

1/15    Arnold, Culture and Anarchy. The Yale Report of 1828, The Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890, 1940 AAUP Statement on Academic Freedom, The G.I. Bill of 1944 and the Report of the President’s Commission on Higher Education in a Democracy in 1947. CP Snow The Two Cultures, Palumbo-Liu, “Introduction” to Occasion 6: Restructuring the Humanities. Gagnier essay in Occasion; Harpham, “From Eternity to Here: Shrinkage in American Thinking About Higher Education.”

[1/22] Readings, Newfield readings (Chapters 1-8, 13, 15, Conclusion), Lye, Newfield and Vernon on “Humanists and the Public University”; readings on MOOCs derived from 1/8.

1/29    The Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois debate in the early 20th century, Freire, Giroux readings.  Discussion of final assignment.

[2/5]   Davidson, Now You See It (“Introduction” and Chapter 3. Project Classroom Makeover”); “How a Class Becomes a Community” and “Rights and Principles” (to be found at; Davidson and Goldberg, “The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age.”

2/12    Ross (Introduction, Chapters 1, 2), Nanterre, Port Huron, “Jonas” (watch in class)

2/19    Watch “Entre les Murs,” Discussion.

[2/26] P-L Intro, Chapter on Never Let Me Go, Never Let Me Go.  Attend Doris Sommer lecture after at 5 pm

[3/5]  Net Smart, Pre-Texts.  Suzanne Guerlac, “Humanities 2.0”; Gregory Lee, “Tomorrow’s Humanities?”  Hangout with our partner classes as well as Prof. Howard Rheingold and Pre-Texts originator Prof. Doris Sommer.  On this date alone we will meet 2-4, and in Hewlett 102.  Please mark this on your calendars.

[3/12]  Closing–Synthesis


 David Palumbo-Liu


 David Palumbo-Liu’s fields of interest include social and cultural criticism, literary theory and criticism, East Asian and Asia Pacific American studies. His most recent book, The Deliverance of Others: Reading Literature in a Global Age (Duke, 2012) addresses the role of contemporary humanistic literature with regard to the instruments and discourses of globalization, seeking to discover modes of affiliation and transnational ethical thinking; he is also co-editor with Bruce Robbins and Nirvana Tanoukhi of Immanuel Wallerstein and the Problem of the World: System, Scale, Culture (Duke, 2011).  Palumbo-Liu is most interested in issues regarding social theory, community, race and ethnicity, justice, globalization, ecology, and the specific role that literature and the humanities play in helping us address each of these areas.  He is the founding editor of Occasion: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities (found on Arcade) and blogs forTruthOut andThe Boston Review. He is also a Contributing Editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books and on the HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science & Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) Steering Committee and the Academic Steering and Advocacy Committee of the Open Library of the Humanities.

Please visit his web site for more information, essays, blogs, events:


Literature, College, Creativity, Corporation

English 197
Winter 2014
Prof. Chris Newfield
South Hall 2617 Wednesday 12:30-14:50
Office: South Hall 2517 Office hours: W 17:00-18:00 and by appt
English Majoring After College (Histories and Futures of Higher Education)

A. underlined dates are Hangouts with our Duke and Stanford course partners
B. Reading in Duke and Stanford courses is recommended as complementary

Wednesday January 8
Introduction to the course’s questions, readings, methods and partners
The 4 Questions:

  • How has college been for you so far?
  • What do English majors do with college?
  • Is college now doing what you or society want it to?
  • How should we change college education to help what comes after?

Reading of Duke and Stanford syllabi, discussion of partners: co-located courses at Duke and Stanford, Coursera MOOC on Higher Education, additional guests

Cathy Davidson, “How A Class Becomes a Community”

Chris Newfield, “Humanities Creativity in the Age of Online”

Wednesday January 15
What Happened to the (1) Knowledge Economy and (2) Public University?

Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Good Squad esp chs 2, 5, 6

Reading Economic Charts: “Slow Income Growth for Middle America” (pre- 2008); Median Net Worth; Exploring Income Inequality; “A Decade of Flat Wages”; “The Internet Economy Keeps Killing Us”; “In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters”

Cathy Davidson, Now You See It, chapter 6 (“The Changing Workplace”)

Christopher Newfield, “Apple’s Attack on the Knowledge Economy”

Christopher Newfield, Unmaking the Public University, chapters as follows:

Ch 1 (the post-war expansion being a socio-economic-cultural awakening of sorts)
Ch 5 (Gov Pete Wilson and the war on affirmative action)
Ch 6 (attacks on affirmative action as attacks on general development–blocking democratic meritocracy in favor of rank-meritocracy)
ch 7 (the “colorblind” university as supporting market stratification- “pseudointegration” as the end of the post-war developmentalist multiracial middle class expansion)
Narrative arc: (1) how the culture wars played the race card in universities to discredit egalitarian social development

Forming Writing-Research Groups (WRGs)

Decisions about convergence of methods with Duke & Stanford partners.

Wednesday January 22
The University, the Humanities, and Creative Industries (Post-70s Music Industry)

Egan, A Visit from the Good Squad, esp chs 7, 9, 11

Newfield, Unmaking the Public University, chapters as follows:

ch 8 (the business logic that makes arts & humanities majors second class in relation to STEM)
ch 13 (how humanities subsidies the sciences but we are told the reverse).
Conclusion (the university for all; general )

Wednesday January 29 (no class meeting)
Online Technology and Liberation Pedagogy

Davidson, Coursera MOOC Week 1; course runs continuously for 6 weeks

Davidson and Goldberg, The Future of Learning in a Digital Age, chs 1 and 2;

Isaacson, Steve Jobs, esp chs 1-3; also 4-18

Wednesday February 5
The Future of Learning (What Is Happening to the “Creatives”)

Cathy Davidson, Now You See It, Introduction, Chapters 3 and 7
Isaacson, Steve Jobs, chs 19-28

Wednesday February 12
Learning, Measuring, Rebelling, Inventing

Davidson, Now You See It ch 4
Isaacson, Steve Jobs chs 24-42
Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go Part 1

Wednesday February 19
Schooling and the Future of the Humanities

Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go Parts 2-3
Davidson, Now You See It chs 5, 7
Laurent Cantet, Entre les Murs (The Class) (Film 2009)
See Davidson readings on the humanities

Wednesday February 26
Thinking and Connecting (Beyond Rational Choice) 

David Palumbo-Liu, The Deliverance of Others, Preface, Intro, chapter 3.

Final Personal Capabilities Inventory
Project Planning

Wednesday March 5
Creativity and Technology in Society

Howard Reingold, Net Smart
Doris Sommer, TBD
Davidson and Goldberg, The Future of Thinking, ch 5

Wednesday March 12
Synthesis: Learning and Working as Tools

Personal and Group Project Planning


Davidson, Cathy N, Now You See It Viking 2011 0670022829
Egan, Jennifer, A Visit from the Goon Squad (Anchor, 2011) 0307477477
Ishiguro, Kazuo, Never Let Me Go (New York: Vintage International, 2006). 1400078776
Isaacson, Walter, Steve Jobs (Simon & Schuster 2011) 1451648537
Newfield, Christopher, Unmaking the Public University: The Forty-year Assault on the Middle Class (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2011). 0674060369
Palumbo-Liu, David The Deliverance of Others: Reading Literature in a Global Age (Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2012). 0822352508
Rheingold, Howard. Net Smart: How to Thrive Online. (Mit Press, 2014). 0262526135

1. Participation and Exercises in Class Discussion and in Writing-Research Groups (60%) WRGs will be explained during the first week.
2. Final project (40%) Due Monday December 10, noon: to be presented during the finals session. Topics and Format to be discussed and decided in seminar


Christopher Newfield


Christopher Newfield teaches American Studies in the English Department at UC Santa Barbara. His books include Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University, 1880-1980 (Duke, 2003), and Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class (Harvard, 2008), and he is the author of recent articles on solar energy policy and collaboration in nanoscience.  He blogs on higher education funding and policy at  Remaking the University (, the Huffington Post, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, and is completing a book called Lower Education: What to do about our Downsized Future.