Assignment One: Analyzing the Accuracy of Mark Edmundson’s Critique of the Culture of the College Campus
Heuristics: See Daily Syllabus
First Draft Due: Fri Sep 14
Second Draft Due: Mon 17 Sep
Polished Draft Due: Wed 19 Sep
Professor Mark Edmundson, in his article 1997 “On the Uses of a Liberal Education: As Lite Entertainment for Bored College Students,” argues that college students regard education as consumers looking at yet another consumer product like a new IPOD. Therefore, they judge their education and their teachers not in terms of how much they are challenged or how much they learn, but instead in terms of how well they are entertained. In this cultural critique, Edmundson concludes that college culture, like American culture, is “ever more devoted to consumption and entertainment, to the using and using up of goods and images” (117). Students have a “cool consumer perspective” towards education that inhibits real learning (117). Parents are partly to blame for raising a generation of children that don’t like to be criticized and don’t want to take risks and stand out. The universities themselves are also responsible for the consumer attitude students have. The campus looks “like a retirement spread for the young” (120), students are actively solicited, and universities market themselves so that college education has become just another product students buy. Professors are forced to act more like retailers selling their courses and consequently they have softened grades and course requirements to ensure they have a market for their courses.
Harper’s Magazine would like to know whether Edmundson’s critique of college culture is accurate when applied 10 years later to Arizona State University. Based on your experiences and that of your peers, and the other readings we have analyzed from You Are Here and the article on Blackboard, write a follow-up article that would appear in...
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