From Christian Gentleman to Bewildered Seeker

A new essay from the Pope Center fills a critical void in understanding today’s university. “From Christian Gentleman to Bewildered Seeker” reveals how the nation’s universities lost their coherence and purpose and became fragmented and over-specialized.

This beautifully woven history reports on the major transformation that began in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and received new momentum during the late 1960s.

The essay is “a timely and telling reminder of the damage done to American higher education by the late 1960s and the shabby multiculturalism that followed,” writes Harvey Mansfield, William R. Keenan Jr. Professor of Government at Harvard.

“This is a fine and thorough review that Nieli has written: lucid, comprehensive . . . and sad,” says John Agresto, former president, St. John’s College, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The author, Russell K. Nieli, is a lecturer in Princeton University’s politics department. Author of an important study of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, he has written numerous articles on public policy topics and edited an anthology of writings on affirmative action. Nieli graduated summa cum laude from Duke University, received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1970, and taught at several colleges before returning to Princeton. He is the author of a paper published by the Pope Center in March 2007, “The Decline and Revival of Liberal Learning at Duke: The Focus and Gerst Programs.”

For a PDF of the “From Christian Gentleman to Bewildered Seeker,” click here.