Sharing Knowledge, Practicing Democracy: A Vision for the Twenty-First-Century University


  • Seth Moglen



Elite research universities must ask themselves why they are willing to invest large sums of money to send students on study-abroad programs in Latin America but will not encourage their students to meet their Latina and Latino neighbors down the street. They should also ask why so many of our institutions contain experts on clean-water technology, the history of feminism, and the rise of religious intolerance in the West who have never asked their students to consider how they might address tainted water supplies, sexual violence, or religious conflict in their own communities. We do, indeed, need to reduce US provincialism, and this will require more international literacy and contact. But intellectual cosmopolitanism does not require that we ignore the problems of our own communities. Global practices of solidarity cannot be cultivated by perpetuating segregation as the dominant habit of mind among educated elites or as a structuring principle of our universities and our cities.