Rebuilding the University: From the Innovation Economy to Craft Society

Christopher NewfieldThe Public Intellectuals Project presents a lecture by
Christopher Newfield

“Rebuilding the University: From the Innovation Economy to Craft Society”

November 21, 2011

McMaster University, CIBC Hall (McMaster Student Centre 319)


Christopher Newfield discusses how the leading response at public universities to financial pressure—large tuition increases and other attempts to replace public with private funds—has made the budget problem worse. Now that we are stuck with a failing public university funding model that no one would have designed on purpose, how do we fix it? Newfield proposes as a solution a new public purpose (and funding structure) for universities, one enabling mass access to new individual capabilities for a “post-innovation society.”

About Christopher Newfield

Christopher Newfield teaches American Studies in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His current research focuses on higher education history, funding, and policy, culture and innovation, and the relation between culture and economics. Recent articles have appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Academe, Le Monde Diplomatique, La Revue Internationale des Livres et des Ideés, Radikal (Turkey), Social Text, Critical Inquiry, and South Atlantic Quarterly, and include “The Renewal of Student Movements, 2009-10,” “The View from 2020: How Universities Came Back,” “The End of the American Funding Model: What Comes Next?” “Ending the Budget Wars: Funding the Humanities during a Crisis in Higher Education,” “Public Universities at Risk: 7 Damaging Myths,” “Science and Social Welfare,” “L’Université et la revanche des ‘élites’ aux États-Unis,” “Why Public is Losing to Private in American Research,” and “Can American Studies Do Economics?” He is the author of The Emerson Effect: Individualism and Submission in America (University of Chicago Press, 1996), Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University, 1880-1980 (Duke University Press, 2003), and Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class (Harvard University Press, 2008), chairs the Innovation Group at the NSF Center for Nanotechnology in Society, runs a blog on the current crisis in higher education, Rethinking the University, blogs at the Huffington Post, and is working on a book called Lower Education: What to do about our Downsized Future.


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