Chris Newfield's syllabus for "English Majoring After College (Histories and Futures of Higher Education)"

English Majoring After College (Histories and Futures of Higher Education)

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



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


1. 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”


2. 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

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, 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.


3. 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 )


4. Wednesday January 29  (no class meeting)


Online Technology and Liberation Pedagogy

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

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


5. 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


6. 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


7. 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

8. 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


9. Wednesday March 5

Creativity and Technology in Society

Howard Reingold, Net Smart

Doris Sommer, TBD

Davidson and Goldberg, The Future of Thinking, ch 5


10. Wednesday March 12


Synthesis: Learning and Working as Tools


Personal and Group Project Planning


11. Wednesday March 19  FINAL PRESENTATIONS



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


Previously Attached Documents: 

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