Public Intellectuals: Professors or Pundits?

PIOver at Commonweal, Eric Miller, the Christopher Lasch biographer and Geneva College history professor, reviews Michael C. Desch’s edited collection Public Intellectuals in the Global Arena: Professors or Pundits (Notre Dame, 2016).

The book includes essays by Jeremi Suri, Andrew Bacevich, Mark Lilla, and Patrick Deneen. A few essays that caught my attention:

Suri, “Historical Consciousness, Realism, and Public Intellectuals in American Society.”

Paul Horwitz, “Of Mirrors and Media: The Blogger as Public Intellectual”

Deneen, “The Public Intellectual as Teacher and Students as Public: Declining and Falling Apart.”

Desch, “The Ethical Imperative for Some Scholars to Be Public Intellectuals and for the Rest to Let Them Do So.”

Read Miller’s review here.

Those of us who read Eric Miller can always expect him to end his pieces with a prophetic note–a way forward.

And here it is:

We citizens need a new core curriculum: that much this volume makes clear (even when it’s not trying to). And we need the active presence of that ancient Augustinian city, portending a new one. We need a civil society founded upon the bedrock of institutions that store up treasure capital cannot see. And we need teachers—intellectuals, if you will—who can help us to see and seize that treasure. Now.

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