During his four years as the tenth Chancellor of Berkeley (2013–17), Nicholas B. Dirks was confronted by crises arguably more challenging than those faced by any other college administrator in the contemporary period. This thoughtfully candid book, emerging from deep reflection on his turbulent time in office, offers not just a gripping insider's account of the febrile politics of his time as Berkeley's leader, but also decades of nuanced reflection on the university's true meaning (at its best, to be an aspirational 'city of intellect'). Dirks wrestles with some of the most urgent questions with which educational leaders are presently having to engage: including topics such as free speech and campus safe spaces, the humanities' contested future, and the real cost and value of liberal arts learning. His visionary intervention – part autobiography, part practical manifesto – is a passionate cri de cœur for structural changes in higher education that are both significant and profound.
Timothy Brennan - Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota
Drew Gilpin Faust - Arthur Kingsley Porter University Professor and President Emerita (2007–18), Harvard University
John Sexton - Benjamin F. Butler Professor of Law Emeritus and Emeritus President (2002–15), New York University
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