It was the big picture that got small

The shrinking of American education, as seen by Charles Hill (no relation):

When students come to a great university they want to answer big problems. Then they find that the social sciences, especially political science, reduce any problem to a small corner, only taking questions that can be addressed in a way that’s scientific and replicable. “You can only work,” students are told, “on this little thing over here.” That’s not the way education was in the Victorian era or in America in the early part of the twentieth century. But during the upheavals of the sixties, when the curriculum was changed, things got smaller. So as American involvement in the world got larger, our education was shrinking.

I expect to be starting on his Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010) soon. Those seeking an overview of the man are directed to Molly Worthen’s biography The Man on Whom Nothing Was Lost: The Grand Strategy of Charles Hill (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005), which I found invaluable.

1 comment

  1. Teresa »

    20 July 2010 · 3:12 pm

    You know, I have always wanted to go to one of the colleges (Like St. John’s College) that offers a Great Books Curriculum. I’m gonna bet those who participate there have a much broader education than from most other places. I guess that makes me a real geek. LOL.

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