William Egginton

Books

The Splintering of the American Mind: Identity Politics, Inequality, and Community on Today's College Campuses

Thirty years after the culture wars, identity politics is now the norm on college campuses--and it hasn't been an unalloyed good for our education system or the country. Though the civil rights movement, feminism, and gay pride led to profoundly positive social changes, William Egginton argues that our culture's increasingly narrow focus on individual rights puts us in a dangerous place. The goal of our education system, and particularly the liberal arts, was originally to strengthen community, but the exclusive focus on individualism has led to a new kind of intolerance, degrades our civic discourse and fatally distracts progressive politics from its commitment to equality.

Egginton argues that our colleges and universities have become exclusive, expensive clubs for the cultural and economic elite instead of a national, publicly funded project for the betterment of the country. Only a return to the goals of community, and the egalitarian values underlying a liberal arts education, can head off the further fracturing of the body politic and the splintering of the American mind.

With lively, on-the-ground reporting and trenchant analysis, The Splintering of the American Mind is a powerful book that is guaranteed to be controversial within academia and beyond. At this critical juncture, the book challenges higher education and every American to reengage with our history and its contexts, and to imagine our nation in new and more inclusive ways

William Egginton is the Decker Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute at John Hopkins University. His highly praised books include How the World Became a Stage, The Theater of Truth, The Philosopher’s Desire, and The Man Who Invented Fiction. Egginton lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and Vienna, Austria, with his family.