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.