Readings response

Take a few minutes to review Readings's work and respond to the following issues:

1. Explain Readings's differentiation between the university of culture and the university of excellence. Find a quotation or two that helps with this separation.

2. How can you tie Readings's work to one or more of our other authors?


"writing an introduction to the reissue of Barzun's text 25 years later, bemoans the fact that 'excellence' is no longer as real as it was in Barzun's day", He argues that excellence is not as prominent in the university today as it was some years ago. He claims that universities are becoming more and more based on corporate models instead of what he called "ivy covered walls". This would mean that instead of being set up to teach the humanites and study superiorly to other it is set up to get people through and make money. This article ties to the others in it again claims that universities have failed and need restructering in the United States.


From what I've read, Readings's view of the difference between a University of Excellence and a University of Culture is that a University of Culture focuses more on it's image (ie. more inclined on selling products that has it's name/logo on them). I believe he mentions something about this by comparing a university bookstore to a Disneyland giftshop. A quote that points this out is his example of a graduating class of Syracuse. "For example, the 'official' graduating class T-shirt for 1990 was sold to students with a significant markup and was perceived by many to whom I spoke as an attempt to squeeze further pennies from them as they left".

I can tie this viewpoint with that of Edmundson as this coincides with his view of how colleges and universities attempt to advertise themselves to as many people as possible to get admissions up and get further money from their tuitions. Readings thinks that the school gets more money from bookstore items and other trinkets that have their logo encrusted on them.


A university of culture's main goal is to expose the students to the places that they will occupy once they have graduated. The classes are geared toward the student getting introduced to the language, thought processes, and concepts that the community of their study use. The case for physics was "a conversation among a community rather than as a simple accumulation of facts." This goes along with the idea that the school is preparing us for the working environment. The main goal of a university of excellence is to make sure that something is taught to a high degree of perfection. The focus is not so much on what is taught anymore, but how well it is taught. This kind of university wants to pass on the information that they think is neccesary to students.
Reading's article was able to connect to all the other artciles because he mentions different aspects of the other articles within. He brings up the notion that the students (and their parents) are consumers, and even says that this is not too far off from the truth. This idea falls in with both of the types of universitys mentioned above. Parents and students are the ones that pay for this education and need to be pleased, which means students are the ones who set which one is more important.


I think a good quote to help this question is "In making such a wide-ranging diagnosis, I am, of course, going to tend to ignore the process of uneven and combined development, the different speeds at which the discourse of "excellence" replaces the ideology of (national) culture in varioius institutions and various countries." Readings is trying to say that in order to pursue excellence you must move at a faster pace than if you were just pursuing the many cultures in the institutions.

Readings fits in with the other authors that we have read because he believest that the primary focus of education relies soley on humanities. He along with the other authors believe that the basis of the education lies in the teachings of humanities.


In this article, Readings states, "In making such a wide-ranging diagnosis, I am, of course, going to tend to ignore the process of uneven and combined development, the different speeds at which the discourse of "excellence" replaces the ideology of (national) culture in various institutions and various countries." Readings talks about how the university is no longer a place to come and learn the facts, but now it is a place where you learn information that you are only going to discard if you do end up following that line of work. Students don't learn the "culture" anymore. He also states that the "notion of culture as the legitimating ide of the modern University has reached the end of its usefullness." We won't remember many of the ideas we learn in college or even need to.

I think this article somewhat relates to Aronowitz's because both authors think that the University is wrong in what it is doing now. It's role must be reevaluated and revamped.

Ryan comment

In my thoughts, it seems that a lot of the writers of these articles are similar in a way. They all seem to believe that the universities are changing, they are not what they once used to be. A Readings talks about excellence and the definition of excellence and it's a subject also mentioned by.....


"The central figure of the University is no longer the professor who was both scholar and the teacher but the provost to whom these apparatchiks and the professors are answeable." This explains how professors used to be everything to a university but know they are just ponds in the grand schem of things.

This ties in on the other readings on how our education is getting less and less diverse. When proffesors are the scholars and the teachers the can teach what they beveive is most important, have first hand experience, and teach the way that broden your hozizons the most.

Readings response

“This seems to me directly symptomatic of the reconception of the University as a corporation, one of whose functions is the granting of degrees with a cultural cachet, but whose overall nature is corporate rather than cultural.” I think the university of excellence refers to a place that increases an individual’s chances of success. I think Readings is saying that the university is no longer a place that helps a person to become just more intelligent.
This article relates to all four articles, but I think it’s most similar to Edmunson’s article. Readings and Edmunson both talk about how universities have become corporations and the students have become more like consumers.

Readings writings

“This seems to me directly symptomatic of the reconception of the University as a corporation, one of whose functions is the granting of degrees with a cultural cachet, but whose overall nature is corporate rather than cultural.” Readings talks about how universities have changed from more cultural to more corproate. That universities focus more on technical business learning than general learning. Also, he talks about how exellence doesn't have the same meaning as it once did.

This work can be related to all of the other articles, becuase they all are written about how the schools are changing.


According to what i understood, what Readings means by University of excellence is that it is a university which concentrates on its excellent teachings and which it wants to keep constant. It doesn't exactly want the students to do well because they are actually bothered with it but because they want to keep up their tag of being excellent. On the other hand by University of culture what Readings means is that it doesn't have to follow the social norms. Before it was a sort of a proud thing to go to university and it was the rich people who could afford to send their kids at the same time contributing alot of money to the respective universities and at times having buildings named after them whereas now it's like every person, approxiamately 19 out of 20 people go to university. This is what i understood from the statement "My argument is that this new interest in the pursuit of excellence indicates a change int he university's function. The University no longer has to safeguard and propagate national culture, because the nation-state is no longer a major site at which capital reproduces itself."
I found this piece to contain similar ideas to those by Edmunson, they cover different topics but their overall meaning seems to be the same. They both seem to agree on the point that universities are definitely in "ruins"


"The idea of national culture no longer provides an overarching ideological meaning for what goes on in the University, and as a result, what exactly gets taught or produces as knowledge matters less and less." Readings is trying to say that the university can pretty much do whatever it wants. He is saying that it is up to the consumers to decide what to teach and what not to. The university of excellence is being ignored because the consumers get what they want.
This is much like the Edmunson article in that the university is giving in to what the students want instead of what the students need. The consumer market is now the min deciding factor in what is taught.


I choose the quote "The ida of national cuture no longer provides an overrearching ideological meaning for what goes on in the UNiversity". I choose this quote because Reading goes on to tel about how culture has become less important as the university shifts away from the nation-state. He states that now that the university doesnt have to go along with the nation state it can no go more towards the university of excellenece.
Like most others students in the class I think that Reading ties in with many of the authors taht we have read works by. But mostly i think that he agrees with Edmunsion and his idea of the college shifting from studies in the huanities to others subjects.

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