Roundtable at Harvard: "The Funding of Higher Education: Different Objectives in Switzerland, the UK, and the USA"


Thursday, September 12, 2019, 5:00pm to 7:00pm


Room 133, Barker Center, Harvard, 12 Quincy St, Cambridge

Organizer: Anja-Silvia Goeing (Harvard/Zurich)

A workshop within the framework of ‘Universities: Past--Present—Future’, at the Mahindra Humanities Center Seminar, chaired by Julie Reuben (Harvard), Manja Klemenčič (Harvard), and Louis Menand (Harvard)


What is or should be the relationship between a democratic polity and its educational institutions and places of higher learning? Contemporary discussions of curricula place great stress on utility, on the value of learning skills as they apply not just to the employability of students, but to the economic and political well-being of a state or nation. Older, more humanist notions of education as a process of self-fulfillment, of making a better moral person, have been challenged by such technocratic ideals and are often seen as outmoded. At the same time the question of what values inform democratic education raises the issue of who decides on what should be studied and how.  How much autonomy should educators have, and to what extent should funders  – whether the state and politicians, grant giving agencies, private gift-givers and donors or voters and ‘the public’, however defined – affect or influence university policy, academic curricula or research objectives.  There is a tension at the heart of this issue, one between the public good of material well-being and the democratic value of free critical thinking, one that raises the question of how independent and autonomous educational institutions should or can be in a democratic society.  


The roundtable brings together experts in higher education researching US-American, British, and Swiss ways and goals of broadening the range of institutions of higher education in recent years. They will discuss different forms of government involvement, sponsorship, and the value of developing non-traditional and applied course and degree offerings in higher education.


Roundtable Speakers:

John Brewer, Eli and Edith Broad Professor of the Humanities emeritus, California Institute of Technology, and Associate at Harvard University, Department of History

John Brewer is interested in forms of citizenship and identity with a focus on modern British and European society. His new project researches the history of tensions between on the one hand particular affiliations to nation, religious faith, locale, landscape, people and race, which are often seen as emotional and affective, and on the other hand larger aims and values (often transnational as in the European case, sometimes universal) that are not necessarily tied to place and which are seen as abstract and cerebral. His publications include The Birth of a Consumer Society, edited with Neil McKendrick and J.H. Plumb (1982); The Consumption of Culture: Word, Image, and Object in the 17th and 18th Centuries, edited with Ann Bermingham (1995); The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century (1997); The American Leonardo: a 20th century tale of Obsession, Art and Money (2009).


Cristiano Casalini, Associate Professor and Endowed Chair in Jesuit Pedagogy and Educational History and a Research Scholar with the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College

Cristiano Casalini’s field of research is mainly early modern education and especially Jesuit education. He has worked on critical texts and commentaries of 16th and 17th century classics of education, especially in and around the Jesuit order. He also provided with Claude Pavur the first volume of a series devoted to the history of Jesuit pedagogy, entitled Jesuit Pedagogy. A Reader (1540–1616) (Boston: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2016). He wrote a book on the Cursus Conimbricensis and the education at the Jesuit college of Coimbra (Rome: Anicia, 2012; and, in Portuguese, Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra, 2015; in English, New York: Routledge, 2017), which was awarded with the Prémio Joaquím de Carvalho, 2016. His roundtable topic will be the governance and politics of past and present Jesuit higher education.


Anja-Silvia Goeing, Visiting Fellow at Harvard University/Professor at University of Zurich, Early Modern History and History of Education.

Anja Goeing is researching early modern higher education and has become interested in processes of archiving as part of educational administration. Given her expertise in pre- and early modern Europe, she is interested in the changing notions and terms for what we now call “academic freedom”. This concept has evolved from a privilege separating the realm of the university from the town sphere to the claim of non-partisan research and the respect of free speech that students and faculty are debating on campuses today. Her most recent book is Storing, Archiving, Organizing: The Changing Dynamics of Scholarly Informaiton Management in Post-Reformation Zurich, Leiden: Brill, 2017.


Philipp Gonon, Professor of Vocational Education, Head of Department, Institute of Education, University of Zurich.

Philipp Gonon is both an intellectual historian and a social scientist. He is interested in historical developments of the universities of applied sciences in Germany and Switzerland, and in comparing their courses, goals, administration, and care for students with those of the professional schools and master’s programs in applied sciences in the USA and the UK. His publications include his monograph on Conditions of Moral Development in the Professions (Bedingungen beruflicher Moralentwicklung und beruflichen Lernens, Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2006), and The Quest for Modern Vocational Education: Georg Kerschensteiner Between Dewey, Weber and Simmel (Bern: Lang, 2009). He has received major funding for surveys of vocational training in German and Swiss higher ed, the most recent of which was published as Swiss Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET): Forms, Systems, Stakeholders (Bern: hep, 2017). For this project especially interesting is his participation in the collaborative monograph Governance im Spannungsfeld des schweizerischen Bildungsföderalismus: sechs Fallstudien (Bern: hep, 2016).


Myles Jackson, Professor of History, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ.

An eminent and authoritative explorer of the intersections between science, technology, aesthetics, history, and society, Myles W. Jackson combines intellectual curiosity with the highest academic standards to push forward the boundaries of the field in significant and influential ways and to establish fresh lines of inquiry. His scholarship, which interweaves economic, commercial, and scientific insights, has had lasting impact and is noted for its cross-disciplinary methodology and range of study—from the artisanal production of scientific knowledge in nineteenth-century Germany to issues of intellectual property, knowledge sharing, race and genomics, the interactions between musicians, natural scientists, and radio engineers, and bioengineering in recent decades. At the roundtable, Prof. Jackson will discuss the politics of the Institute for Advanced Study.


Lynda Pickbourn, Assistant Professor of Economics and Chair, Five College African Studies Council, School of Critical Social Inquiry, Hampshire College

Prof. Pickbourn's fields of specialization are in Economic Development and Feminist Economics, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Her dissertation research examined the role of gendered social norms in shaping migration and remittance behavior, a topic on which she carried out field research in rural communities in Northern Ghana for a year. Her other interests include the structural and institutional determinants of employment and earnings in the informal economy in developing countries, and the impact of foreign aid on gender equality in health and education outcomes in sub-Saharan African countries. She is an excellent commentator of the recent funding crisis of Hampshire College, in which she participated as vice-president of the Hampshire chapter of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) and will discuss the Hampshire situation with us.


Travis E. Ross, PhD; Yale University, Department of History

Travis Ross studies the history of knowledge and capitalism in the US in the long nineteenth century. He is working on a book manuscript tentatively titled History, Inc. that will explore the corporate origins of what became UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library. The book traces the rise and fall of a for-profit historical enterprise operated by the California bookseller Hubert Howe Bancroft that briefly rivaled the academic historical profession that emerged simultaneously in the 1870s and 1880s. Bancroft’s enterprise produced not only the core manuscript collection of one of the most important libraries for the study of western America, but also the 39-volume history of half a continent that remains the foundation for the historiography of that vast region which spans from Panama to Alaska and inland to the Rocky Mountains. Ross’ project explores the relationship between the mass publishing market and the production and distribution of serious knowledge in the decades leading up to academic professionalization.


Roundtable Chairs:

Julie Reuben, Charles Warren Professor of the History of American Education, Harvard University, Graduate School for Education

Julie Reuben is a historian interested in the intersection between American thought and culture and educational institutions and practice. Her book, Making of the Modern University (1996), examines the relation between changing conceptions of knowledge, standards of scholarship, and the position of religion and morality in the American university during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She has published articles on the history of academic freedom, affirmative action, student activism and the history of civics in public schools. She is currently researching changing forms of political education mid-twentieth century American universities.


Manja Klemenčič, Lecturer in Sociology, Harvard University

Manja Klemenčič researches, teaches, advises and consults in the field of the sociology of higher education and international and comparative higher education. She serves as Editor-in-Chief of European Journal of Higher Education, Co-Editor of the Bloomsbury book series Understanding Student Experiences of Higher Education, Co-Editor of the Routledge Handbook on Student-Centered Learning and Instruction in Higher Education, and Thematic Co-Editor of the Springer Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions.


Further Members of the Project Group

Arbnora Aliu Vejseli, Research assistant and PhD candidate, Institute of Education, University of Zurich. Nora has published on special education and is especially interested in its method and historiography.


Lucien Criblez, Professor of the History of Education, Institute of Education, University of Zurich.

Prof. Criblez’s historical research centers on governance of educational institutions in the 20th century. He is especially interested in the institutions’ dynamics of adaptation and resistance in response to societal changes. He analyzes processes of educational decision-making and implementation as well as their control by school administration or supervision. In addition, he researches knowledge policy in the education system (curricula, teaching aids, educational standards). Among his publications are a monograph on democratic education in 19th century Swiss schools (Eine Schule für die Demokratie: zur Entwicklung der Volksschule in der Schweiz im 19. Jahrhundert, Bern: Lang, 1999), his work on Switzerland as an educational cultural space (Bildungsraum Schweiz: historische Entwicklung und aktuelle Herausforderungen, Bern: Haupt, 2008) and his recent collected volume on the government and administration of Switzerland before the neo-liberal turn (Staatlichkeit in der Schweiz: regieren und verwalten vor der neoliberalen Wende, Bern: hep, 2016).


Barbara E. Hof, MA, Research assistant and PhD candidate, Chair of Vocational Education and Training, Institute of Education, University of Zurich. Working title of the dissertation project: Nuclear Education, c. 1945-1975


Nehemia Albert Quiring-Davaz, University of Zurich, Institute of Education; Doctoral candidate associated with the Chair of Historical Education Research and Control of the Educational System held by Prof. Dr. Lucien Criblez