The University of the Movement

From the 1950s to 1980s college students took a prominent role in liberation struggles around the world with the year 1968 often held up as an epochal example of the global and transnational reach of student movements. Within these movements, certain student activists articulated a belief that the liberation struggles produced a new model of civic education capable of forming a genuine democratic culture in the modern American university. The University of the Movement traces the shifting formulations of this belief among student activists and the debates they provoked about the direction of the modern American university. These were not fleeting visions of the university that merely faded with the decline of mass student movements and political appeals of liberation associated with the 1960s.  The University of the Movement charts new ground in histories of student activism and the modern American university by examining the new civic education programs that emerged out of student activism and liberation struggles in the 1960s and their institutional legacies, many of which fell under service learning by the 1980s. The University of the Movement illuminates the political and educational consequences of the new civics and what the shift from student activism to service learning reveals about the civic epistemologies of the modern American university. In doing so, The University of the Movement resurrects the nuanced portraits of civic education and ideas of the university’s public purpose that emerged out of student activism and liberation movements and considers what those forgotten visions can teach us today about the relationship between higher education, the pursuit of knowledge, and American democracy.