Volume 1, Number 1 (2008)

The Insidious Work of the University: From Nationalism to Excellence to Entrepreneurialism

Essay by Don Mitchell, Syracuse University

The business of universities is chasing money.  This has not always been the case.  From the founding of the “modern” university in Germany in the middle of the 19th century until – perhaps – the early-to-mid  1960s,  the  business  of  universities was nation-building.  Universities were sites for the production not only of national culture (through the promotion of various humanities disciplines), but also of learning to regulate national populations (in the burgeoning social sciences), and for creating nationally-based  sciences.    Military  science and instruction were, historically, a central part of this nation-building enterprise.