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Between Citizens and the State:
The Politics of American Higher Education in the 20th Century
Christopher P. Loss

Winner of the 2013 Outstanding Book Award, American Educational Research Association

Paperback | 2014 | $29.95 | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691163345
344 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 29 halftones. 4 line illus.
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This book tracks the dramatic outcomes of the federal government's growing involvement in higher education between World War I and the 1970s, and the conservative backlash against that involvement from the 1980s onward. Using cutting-edge analysis, Christopher Loss recovers higher education's central importance to the larger social and political history of the United States in the twentieth century, and chronicles its transformation into a key mediating institution between citizens and the state.

Framed around the three major federal higher education policies of the twentieth century--the 1944 GI Bill, the 1958 National Defense Education Act, and the 1965 Higher Education Act--the book charts the federal government's various efforts to deploy education to ready citizens for the national, bureaucratized, and increasingly global world in which they lived. Loss details the myriad ways in which academic leaders and students shaped, and were shaped by, the state's shifting political agenda as it moved from a preoccupation with economic security during the Great Depression, to national security during World War II and the Cold War, to securing the rights of African Americans, women, and other previously marginalized groups during the 1960s and '70s. Along the way, Loss reappraises the origins of higher education's current-day diversity regime, the growth of identity group politics, and the privatization of citizenship at the close of the twentieth century.

At a time when people's faith in government and higher education is being sorely tested, this book sheds new light on the close relations between American higher education and politics.


"Loss has succeeded in a very ambitious project, and shows the many ways that higher education serves as a key intermediary between state and citizen. I hope other academics will take up the challenge and build on his very good start."--Nancy L. Ruther, Times Higher Education

"Loss offers a well-researched, important narrative of the escalating involvement of federal policy in U.S. higher education from WWI through the 1970s and of the remarkable social outcomes or effects thereof. . . . Loss's book merits a place on university library shelves as well on the reading lists of courses on public policy and on the history of American higher education."--Choice

"Between Citizens and the State provides an accurate and cogent perspective on movements in American society that have led members of government and higher education to clash, but also to collaborate. Loss provides new insights on a one-hundred-year relationship that has largely been neglected by scholars."--Hani Morgan, Journal of American History

"Between Citizens and the State is an ambitious history of the politics of higher education in the twentieth century. . . . Exploring the linkage between politics as it affected higher education and the development of the social sciences is one of the significant achievements of this book."--Nannerl O. Keohane, Perspectives on Politics

"Admirably ambitious in scope and engagingly written. . . . Loss argues that political leaders and educational elites worked together to create a partnership between higher education and the state over the course of the last century. While historians of science have recognized this, Loss's important contribution to the discussion is to focus not on the collaboration's goal of producing experts and expert knowledge but on the goal of creating democratic citizens."--Rebecca Lowen, American Historical Review

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Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations and Appendix Charts ix
Acknowledgments xi
Chapter 1: Introduction: The Politics of American Higher Education in the Twentieth Century 1

Part I: Bureaucracy
Chapter 2: Reorganizing Higher Education in the Shadow of the Great War 19
Chapter 3: Building the New Deal Administrative State 53

Part II: Democracy
Chapter 4: Educating Citizen-Soldiers in World War II 91
Chapter 5: Educating Global Citizens in the Cold War 121

Part III: Diversity
Chapter 6: Higher Education Confronts the Rights Revolution 165
Chapter 7: Conclusion: The Private Marketplace of Identity in an Age of Diversity 214
Appendix: A: Graphical Portrait of American Higher Education in the Twentieth Century 235

Notes 239
Index 303


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