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Academic Charisma and the Old Regime [Book Review]

Haugen, Kristine Louise (2007) Academic Charisma and the Old Regime [Book Review]. In: History of Universities. Vol.22:1. Oxford University Press , New York, pp. 199-228. ISBN 9780199227488.

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[Introduction]. At last, the history of universities has its Les mots et les choses. In this attractive and ambitious book, William Clark presents a story at once broad and focused. His canvas is the German university, from the origins to the nineteenth century; the subject of his portrait is the German professor, who often threatens, like a Quattrocento sitter, to leap out of the frame and confront us in the flesh. The professor, Clark argues, took on a recognizably modern incarnation in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. His intellectual life was now adorned by a publication record, a specialized academic field, and squadrons of emulous students. At the same time, the professor's institutional world changed dramatically. Most visibly at the universities of Gottingen, Halle, and Jena, the state took on a sharply increased authority in academic affairs, chiefly by requiring regular documentation of the professor's teaching and publications. One might have expected the average academic to wither under the conditions of life as a micromanaged civil servant. But the German professoriate flourished, producing the classicists C. G .. Heyne, F. A. Wolf, and Gottfried Hermann, not to mention Kant, Schelling, Hegel, and the orientalist A. W Schlegel. The 'academic charisma' of Clark's title not only suggests the explosive intellectual power of these generations. It also encapsulates the paradox on which Clark's analysis pivots: that the superstar intellectuals of nineteenth-century Germany, who are credited with transforming so many disciplines, rose to fame both by fulfilling their job descriptions and by appearing to exceed them radically.

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Alternate Title:Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University
Additional Information:Book Review of: William Clark, Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University (Chicago, 2006), 662pp. ISBN: 9780226109213.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150301-170534361
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:55360
Deposited By: Kristine Haugen
Deposited On:02 Mar 2015 19:54
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 08:05

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