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Science, Democracy, and the American University
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Book description

This book reinterprets the rise of the natural and social sciences as sources of political authority in modern America. Andrew Jewett demonstrates the remarkable persistence of a belief that the scientific enterprise carried with it a set of ethical values capable of grounding a democratic culture - a political function widely assigned to religion. The book traces the shifting formulations of this belief from the creation of the research universities in the Civil War era to the early Cold War years. It examines hundreds of leading scholars who viewed science not merely as a source of technical knowledge, but also as a resource for fostering cultural change. This vision generated surprisingly nuanced portraits of science in the years before the military-industrial complex and has much to teach us today about the relationship between science and democracy.


'Jewett’s sweeping account focuses on the history of a single tenacious idea - that the practice of science somehow conveys the personal virtues and ethical values requisite for democratic citizenship … His book certainly helps to expand conceptions of scientific expertise, while cataloguing remarkably conflicting ideas about the place of science in democratic culture.'

Source: Journal of Interdisciplinary History

'… very well-written, extremely well-documented, and ambitious … Jewett has provided a comprehensive history of competing interpretations of the meaning and uses of the term science. His work is a highly significant contribution to an understanding of a central component of American intellectual thought. As such, it is essential reading for advanced students and scholars in a number of disciplines.'

Mark Oromaner Source: American Studies

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