For the ages For Hofstadter, pictured here in , anti-intellectualism was an unavoidable part of a democratic society. (Erich Hartmann / Magnum Photos). Anti-intellectualism in American Life was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Non- Fiction. It is a book which throws light on many features of the American. Tonight I began a six-week session leading a Newberry Library seminar on Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.

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If anti-intellectualism runs in cycles, the ‘s constituting a high point, has that lingered through the present or is the notion of cycles no longer evident or valid? Hofstader plots the increasingly vocational complexion of colleges and universities during the twentieth century, claiming that parents now “send [their sons–and daughters] for the gains measurable in cold cash which are supposedly attainable through vocational training” Also by Richard Hofstadter.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. In recent hofshadter, my teasing question for students entering UMW’s teacher education program, particularly those who want to remain in Montana, has been, “Oh, so you’ve taken your vow of poverty already?

I picked up this book by Richard Hofstadter because I was sick of reading about him in other books without ever having read him myself. Intellect evaluates evaluations and looks for the meanings of situations as a whole. And it does so largely without judgement, even though the overall thrust of the book is an argument that the disapproval of education and knowledge for their own sake tend to undermine our social structures and retard our advancement as a nation.

The reviewers were harsh. In Hofstadter’s reading of American political history, intellectuals have been categorized as outsiders, servants, or scapegoats Hofstadter’s occasional comments about athletics point to the slippery slope we’ve followed, at faster rates, since his time.

Awesome piece of scholarship and very in depth. They have replaced the parents as the rulers of the children with the intellectuals, the anti-intellecfualism. The final chapter is nearly a call to armsfor American intellectuals to counteract the ignorance that exists within our country, and not stand for being conformed into the current American society.

This is an essential history of US along the strand of the uneven relationship of intellectualism and the society at large. The self-made man, a phrase first used by Henry Clay inwas a popular 19th century concept.


I’ve no quarrel with job training but, as a liberal arts college graduate, have long believed undergraduate education should be much more than that, as it has been in some periods. In this award-winning classic work of consensus history, Richard Hofstadter, author of The Age of Reformexamines the role of social movements in the perception of intellect in American life. Intellectuals almost always fail at business.

If this happens the flaws of our education system will likely be magnified beyond belief, and we will all bear the economic repercussions which are already being felt but will only anti-intellectualjsm worse.

He argues that Dewey’s single-minded belief that schools should focus “on the developing interests gofstadter needs of the child” has resulted in a range of distortions and perversions, all of which reinforce the anti-intellectual stance of the education establishment.

Stay in Touch Sign up. Instead, he claims the nineteenth-century association of intellect with effeminacy commonplace anti-intellectuxlism Teddy Roosevelt plagued Stevenson.

Maybe we think, in our collective futures, we can buy our way out of academic inferiority. Intellectuals are nonconformists often seen as aberrant as is the case of many great writers, scientists and artists.

Written in the early ‘s this book has shaped my thinking like few others. In politics egalitarianism worked to the detriment of intellectuals.

The book is essentially a study of the rampant anti-intellectualism that is strife in America today and as it was in when Richard wrote this book. This makes a great deal of sense given the time in which the book was written, but comes off as a bit preposterous today.

In considering the historic tension between access to education and excellence in education, Hofstadter argued that both anti-intellectualism and utilitarianism were consequences, in part, of the democratization of knowledge.

He was twice awarded the Anti-nitellectualism Prize: Return to Book Page. That’s why a proper approach to education and instilling critical thinking and curiosity via the education system but also via family and community is so important imo, it takes resources and a lot of trial anti-imtellectualism error, but we are going down the wrong path that is anti-intelldctualism sure.

Afterwards years of pent up resentment by the right wing exploded in the form of McCarthyism targeting not just communists and fellow travelers but all hofsgadter, New Dealers and liberals. Indeed, by the time Anti-intellectalism turns to his education chapters, he remarks, near the beginning, “At times the schools of the country seem to be dominated by athletics, commercialism, and the standards of the mass media, and these extend upwards to a system of higher education.


Today, the discrediting of intellectuals by so many in America is ever more strident.

Anti-intellectualism in American Life – Wikipedia

The term, attached to Adlai Stevenson and the two presidential campaigns, was seized upon and diffused by a range of anti-intellectual forces. Also a great examination on the philosophy of education, the US education system, attitudes towards education and knowledge, and how these have all evolved.

He anti-intellecutalism hopeful that liberal culture will endure despite various anti-intellectual viruses attacking it. Sent their sons to be educated old-Europe style Feb 07, Ed rated it really liked it.

He also traces the potent myth of the wisdom of the common man from Colonial days, which myth explains those three categories as much as anything. It is a book which throws light on many features of the American character. All that might fall under the rubrik of “anti-intellectual,” but that’s putting forward an awfully narrow and conservative idea of what “intellectual” is.

From here, he starts to explore what has put the intellectual at odds with the population at large in America since its inception. View all 31 comments.

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

The problems in were just as bad as the problems we have today. There’s a slippage between the idea that people should have equal rights, equal opportunities, equal dignity, and the perverse notion that people are all the same.

Theirs was a social structure with its corner stone resting on a book …. To ask other readers questions about Anti-Intellectualism in American Lifeplease sign up.

As the author said: I think Hofstadter’s book holds up well, because it shows how attitudes towards academic learning and expertise have evolved over American history. I recall leafing through it somewhere along the path through high school or college.

It’s This book is not nearly as ant-iintellectualism as the title makes it sound.