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Neo-nationalism and Universities

Populists, Autocrats, and the Future of Higher Education

The rise of neo-nationalism is having a profound and troubling impact on leading national universities and the societies they serve. This is the first comparative study of how today's right-wing populist movements and authoritarian governments are threatening higher education.

Universities have long been at the forefront of both national development and global integration. But the political and policy world in which they operate is undergoing a transition, one that is reflective of a significant change in domestic politics and international relations: a populist turn inward among a key group of nation-states, often led by demagogues, that includes China and Hong Kong, Turkey, Hungary, Russia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In many parts of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for populists and autocrats to further consolidate their power. Within right-wing political ecosystems, universities, in effect, offer the proverbial canary in the coal mine—a clear window into the extent of civil liberties and the political environment and trajectory of nation-states.

In Neo-nationalism and Universities, John Aubrey Douglass provides the first significant examination of the rise of neo-nationalism and its impact on the missions, activities, behaviors, and productivity of leading national universities. Douglass presents a major comparative exploration of the role of national politics and norms in shaping the role of universities in nation-states—and vice versa. He also explores when universities are societal leaders or followers: When they are agents of social and economic change, or simply agents reinforcing and supporting an existing social and political order.

In a series of case studies, Douglass and contributors examine troubling trends that threaten the societal role of universities, including attacks on civil liberties, free speech, and the validity of science; the firing and jailing of academics; anti-immigrant rhetoric; and restrictions on visas with consequences for the mobility of academic talent. The book also offers recommendations to preserve the autonomy and academic freedom of universities and their constituents. Neo-nationalism and Universities is written for a broad public readership interested and concerned about the rise of nationalist movements, illiberal democracies, and autocratic leaders.

Contributors: José Augusto Guilhon Albuquerque, Elizabeth Balbachevsky, Thomas Brunotte, Igor Chirikov, Igor Fedyukin, Karin Fischer, Wilhelm Krull, Brendan O'Malley, Bryan E. Penprase, Marijk van der Wende

About the Author

John Aubrey Douglass (PIEDMONT, CA) is a senior research fellow and research professor of public policy and higher education at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley. His previous books include The New Flagship University: Changing the Paradigm from Global Ranking to National Relevancy and Envisioning the Asian New Flagship University: Its Past and Vital Future.

Endorsements

"Neo-nationalism and Universities captures the breadth of the threat that right-wing populists, demagogues, and autocrats pose to universities, to their communities of students and faculty, and to civil society and international cooperation. In an analysis of the rise of neo-nationalism based on case studies, Douglass and his colleagues outline how universities can be both responsive and influential."

- David Ward, former President, ACE / Chancellor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin–Madison

"A superb and very timely book, scholarly, original, and easy to read. I know of no other book that covers these issues in the same level of detail."

- Nick Hillman, Director, Higher Education Policy Institute

"This volume makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the politics and policies of neo-nationalism in universities around the world. It will be useful to scholars of higher education, comparative education, and comparative politics, as well as higher education leaders and policy makers. Anyone concerned about the future of universities in liberal democracies should read this book."

- Adam Nelson, University of Wisconsin–Madison, coauthor of The Global UniversityPast, Present, and Future Perspectives

"In this illuminating and timely analysis, Douglass and his colleagues examine the political and cultural influences on what appears to be a rising trend toward neonationalism in universities around the world. Well informed, grounded in astute research, and revelatory in its findings and implications, this book is also clearly written and easily understood—a stimulating set of insights for any reader who cares about universities and their future."

- Daniel Fallon, University of Maryland at College Park, author of The German University: A Heroic Ideal in Conflict with the Modern World

"Leading scholar John Aubrey Douglass has brought together an outstanding group of collaborators to examine one of the most disturbing trends of our time: the impact of illiberal nationalist movements on intellectual life. Under the new nationalists, the university's role as critic has declined precipitously, as has its role as impartial arbiter of truth-claims. The book employs a dispassionate analysis of authoritarian regimes to distinguish between varieties of neo-nationalism and their potential impacts, from limited constraints to severe consequences for dissent."

- Steven Brint, University of California–Riverside, author of Two Cheers for Higher Education: Why American Universities Are Stronger Than Ever—and How to Meet the Challenges They Face

"During the past two decades, we have witnessed the rise of nationalism and populism around the world. Neo-Nationalism and Universities is a timely and welcome study of the impact of these movements on higher education, especially in the realm of academic freedom and freedom of speech. Of special value is the book's exploration of the role universities play in accommodating and providing ideological cover for authoritarian and totalitarian rule."

- Vartan Gregorian, President, Carnegie Corporation of New York

9781421441863 : neo-nationalism-and-universities-douglass
Paperback / softback
September 7, 2021
$49.95 USD
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September 7, 2021
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