Tutorial, ARH 314 Daniel H. Kaiser

Fall, 1997 Carnegie 308/x3088




Course Description: Campus Culture Wars--Then and Now


In recent years there has been much debate about what constitutes an appropriate undergraduate education. Discussions of multiculturalism, race and gender equality, political correctness, and much else have helped fuel sometimes stormy debates about what college students ought to learn and how. But these debates are not new, especially in American education. In this tutorial we shall examine both recent controversies and their predecessors in an effort to establish our own criteria for the proper definition of liberal education in late twentieth-century America. These discussions will conclude with each student creating his or her own four-year course of study, together with an essay justifying it on the principles of liberal education.


Required Texts Available for Purchase in College Bookstore


E. D. Hirsch, Jr. Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. NY, 1988.

Gerald Graff. Beyond the Culture Wars. NY, 1993.

Dinesh D'Souza. Illiberal Education. NY, 1992.

Darryl J. Gless & Barbara Herrnstein Smith, eds. The Politics of Liberal Education. Durham, NC, 1992.

John Henry Newman. The Idea of a University. New Haven, 1996.

Lawrence Levine. The Opening of the American Mind. Boston, 1996.

Fulwiler, et al. The College Writer's Reference. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1996.


Organization and Aims of the Tutorial


The First-Year Tutorial is the only course required for graduation from Grinnell College, and therefore occupies a correspondingly important place in the curriculum. The tutorial aims to teach students to become acute analysts of information, skillful and persuasive writers, and better public speakers--in classroom discussion as well as in more formal contexts. All these skills will serve the student well, no matter what major or area of study the student may subsequently concentrate upon. Therefore, although the subject matter of the tutorial may never recur in any other Grinnell course the student takes, conscientious participation in the tutorial will inevitably contribute to the student's later success at Grinnell (and after Grinnell).

For much of the time, the tutorial will operate like any other course, although with fewer students than many courses, and often in a consciously less formal atmosphere than many other courses. However, to fulfill the promise of its name, the tutorial also will employ some small-group and even individual sessions that resemble the "tutorials" made famous by instruction at Cambridge and Oxford; these tutorial sessions are specially noted in the course schedule below. At these occasions, students will be expected to bring to their tutorial a piece of their own writing about which they're prepared to speak; they will also receive copies of writing from other students who may join them for the tutorial session. Each student will be expected to have read and thought about the other students' writings, and be prepared to discuss them as well.

Each student will be expected to keep up to date with the assigned reading, and come to class having thought about the reading. To help encourage useful discussion as well as encourage regular writing, each student will be asked to maintain a journal in which the student records both what the piece under discussion aspires to say, as well as what the reader thinks about that work. A handout will suggest a format to observe. It may prove easiest to open a file in your word processing program in which you simply add a page for each day's writing; that way, by semester's end, you will have available an entire folder of your thoughts and your writing to consider.

Finally, students in the tutorial will be expected to organize much of the learning themselves. Among other things, this means the execution of several writing assignments, indicated in the schedule below. It will also mean regular participation in class discussions, and occasional participation in debates or other alternative forms of class organization.


Assignments, Grading


Writing Assignments


Oral Assignments


The total, 110%, serves as a bonus, adjusting upward everyone's grade.


Schedule of Meetings


8/24 Introductory Meeting



8/25 Advising Appointments, Carnegie 308



9/2 What Everyone Should Know? E. D. Hirsch & "Cultural Literacy"

Assignment: Read and Study Hirsch, pp. xi-xvii, 1-145; bring to class 1-page journal entry of your reflections on the reading; use these questions to help direct your reading and thinking about the assignment.



9/3 SPECIAL SESSION: Honesty Lecture

7:30 PM, ARH 302


9/4 "What Literate Americans Know"

Assignment: Read and Study Hirsch, pp. 146-215.

Select at least 2 pages from the list to study carefully, and determine 1) exactly how many of these terms are familiar to you, and 2) whether the terms on your pages correspond to the criteria that Hirsch identifies.

Consider to what extent the lists on your pages depend upon ethnic or class biases, and determine whether you think these characteristics invalidate the lists or confirm Hirsch's judgment on their importance. Be prepared to justify your conclusions.


9/9 Objecting to Hirsch: "Tenured Radicals" Respond

Assignment: Read and Study Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Henry A. Giroux, Elizabeth Minnich, and Richard Rorty in Politics of Liberal Education, pp. 75-94, 119-44, 187-200, and 233-240. Also, examine Smith's endnotes to find other materials to read to prepare yourself for a discussion evaluating Hirsch's project. Locate and read some critical reviews of Hirsch's book (see Book Review Digest), check the World Wide Web, or use FirstSearch or some other electronic resource to develop additional resources with which to judge Hirsch's approach. Bring the results of your search to class.


9/11 "Illiberal Education"--Rejecting Multiculturalism

Assignment: Read and Study Dinesh D'Souza's Illiberal Education, pp. xi-xx, 1-93, 229-257.


9/16 More on "Illiberal Education"--Race, Gender, and Postmodernism

Assignment: Read and Study D'Souza's Illiberal Education, pp. 94-228.


9/18 A Rejoinder to D'Souza, Hirsch and Others

Assignment: Read and Study Lawrence Levine's Opening of the American Mind, xi-xix, 1-101.


9/23 The University in a Multicultural Age

Assignment: Read and Study Levine's Opening of the American Mind, 103-174; also read and study Troy Duster, "They're Taking Over! and Other Myths about Race on Campus," in Higher Education Under Fire: Politics, Economics, and the Crisis of the Humanities, eds. Michael Bérubé and Cary Nelson (NY: Routledge, 1995), 276-83 (available on Reserve at Burling Library); and read carefully The Diversity Project: Final Report (Berkeley: Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of California, Berkeley, 1991), pp. iii-ix, 1-61.


9/25 Making the Curriculum Multicultural: Stanford CIV Course

Assignment: Read and Study Mary Louise Pratt, "Humanities for the Future: Reflections on the Western Culture Debate at Stanford," in The Politics of Liberal Education, 13-31, and the various xeroxed materials on Stanford's Culture, Ideas, and Values course. Stanford University's web pages also include a number of items that might be of interest to our discussion, among them the following (in no particular order) which I recommend to you. If you find additional web pages, please note the URLs and send the information along to all members of the tutorial:



9/30 Research (Details will be supplied in class)


10/2 Research/Conferences with debate teams)


10/6-10/8 TUTORIALS (Details will be supplied in class)


10/7 Debating the Cases: Stanford and Berkeley Reexamined

Assignment: Students will be divided into four groups: two to prepare pro and con arguments for the Berkeley admission policy and two on Stanford's curriculum. Materials discussed in class will represent part of the evidence, but students will also be encouraged to research additional materials pertinent to their particular assignment.




10/14 Meet at Burling Library by the Reference Desk at 8 AM

Library Session: Research Tools/College Archives: Ms. Rod, Ms. Czechowski



10/16 Establishing a Research Project: Curriculum Debates at Grinnell College

Assignment: Your next paper will require you to identify a curriculum debate at some point in the history of Grinnell College, and use the available resources to determine how this particular debate fits into the history of curricular change in US higher education. You may wish to review Levine's The Opening of the American Mind, or you may wish to consult other sources, for example, W. B. Carnochan, The Battleground of the Curriculum: Liberal Education and American Experience (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993). You will research this project in groups of three.


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10/28 The University Idealized: Past, Present and Future

Assignment: Read and Study John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University, xii-xxiv, 25-40, 76-126, 166-177, 257-263, 282-301, 318-361.


10/30 Research and Writing Appointments


11/4 Conflict or Resolution: Liberal Education & the Culture Wars

Assignment: Read and Study Gerald Graff, Beyond the Culture Wars: How Teaching the Conflicts Can Revitalize American Education, 3-104.


11/6 Bringing Conflict Into the Classroom

Assignment: Read and Study Graff, Beyond the Culture Wars, 105-196.


11/11-18 TUTORIALS (Details will be supplied in class)


11/20 NO CLASS

Assignment: Read and Study the following essays from The Politics of Liberal Education: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., "The Master's Pieces: On Canon Formation and the African-American Tradition," 95-117; George A. Kennedy, "Classics and Canons," 223-31; Stanley Fish, "The Common Touch, or, One Size Fits All," 241-66; and Francis Oakley, "Against Nostalgia: Reflections on Our Present Discontents in American Higher Education," 267-89.


11/25 Research and Writing Appointments


12/2 Liberal Education in a Multicultural Age: Individual Presentations


12/4 Liberal Education in a Multicultural Age: Individual Presentations


12/9 Liberal Education in a Multicultural Age: Individual Presentations


12/11 Holiday Social Event at Kaisers', 1433 Main Street


Tutorial Projects on History of Grinnell College

"Origin of the freshman tutorial"--Kate Aughenbaugh

"Abandonment of distribution requirements in 1970"--Christine Calton

"John Main's educational justification of a residential college"--Cathy Dean

"The Group System of President George Gates"--Mandy Emory

"The institution of the tutorial in the 70's"--Jessica Heard

"Abolition of requirements in 1970 and institution of tutorial"--Tor Janson

"The institution of the tutorial at Grinnell College"--Jen Kniff

"The establishment of an open curriculum in 1970"--Rachel Liberman

"Making Grinnell into a residential college" --Ruth Pesses

"Institution of the tutorial"--Spencer Piston

"1984 debate over a return to a core curriculum"--Andy Pressman

"Student and faculty rejection of the proposed reinstitution of curriculum requirements of '83 and '84"--Trey Reasonover

"The creation of a multicultural curriculum at Grinnell College"--Garrett Shelton

"Affirmative action and liberal education at Grinnell College"--Kati Toan