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The Emergence of Modern Universities In France, 1863-1914

The Emergence of Modern Universities In France, 1863-1914

Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 416
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  • Book Info
    The Emergence of Modern Universities In France, 1863-1914
    Book Description:

    George Weisz offers a comprehensive analysis of the French university system during the latter half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Examining the major reforms of higher education undertaken during the Third Republic, he argues that the original thrust for reform came from within the educational system, especially from an academic profession seeking to raise its occupational status.

    Originally published in 1986.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5741-8
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-17)

    The modern universityis essentially a product of the nineteenth century. In nearly all Western nations, institutions of higher education evolved in that century, at different rates and in reaction to diverse stimuli, into something approaching our contemporary universities (with all the variations which that term implies). This work analyzes and evaluates this process as it unfolded in France during the early years of the Third Republic.

    Between 1878 and 1914 institutions of higher learning in France adopted several new functions (technical, commercial, and administrative training; research), revamped nearly all traditional services (training of doctors, lawyers, and teachers), and underwent...

  7. CHAPTER ONE The French System of Higher Education
    (pp. 18-54)

    The French systemof higher education was fashioned during the troubled decade of the 1790s along lines laid out during the eighteenth century, and given its final form by Napoleon I during the early years of the nineteenth Its primary purpose was the training of experts In this as in the emphasis on centralized administrative structures, the Napoleonic Université respected the traditions of theancien régime

    In France, as throughout Europe during the eighteenth century, universities came under intense attack They were criticized for their attachment to scholastic tradition and for their indifference to the developing sciences Nor did they...

  8. CHAPTER TWO The Academic Community and University Reform
    (pp. 55-89)

    After 1860professors became increasingly disaffected with the system of higher studies. During the next two decades, many writers offered criticisms and proposed solutions. Even academic superstars like Ernest Renan and Louis Pasteur felt compelled to publicly denounce existing conditions. General intellectual journals like theRevue des deux mondes, Revue bleue,andRevue scientifiquepopularized reform proposals among the educated public. The movement, we shall see, began within the relatively marginal research-oriented sectors of the professoriate. Eventually, it spread throughout an academic profession seeking higher status and greater autonomy.

    Many of the central ideas of university reform go back to...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Higher Education and the Emergence of the Third Republic
    (pp. 90-133)

    Successful professional groupsdo not allow themselves to focus exclusively on corporate issues. In order to appeal to some segment of the ruling classes, they must couch their demands in terms of national interests and elite concerns. It requires only a handful of ideologues to perform this function; if these are well-integrated into the dominant elite and share its values and aspirations, they can exert enormous influence on public opinion.

    In seeking to attract support, academic reformers could appeal to several criteria of social utility. Concern with economic development, for instance, became widespread during the Second Empire, reformers, especially scientists,...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR The Creation of the French Universities
    (pp. 134-161)

    In his classic historyof education in France, Antoine Prost has argued that the reform of higher education in the late nineteenth century failed due to the strategy adopted by the leading reformers. Instead of moving boldly to radically transform the system, they chose to move cautiously and to appeal to public opinion.¹ The question of success or failure aside, Prost is undoubtedly correct in emphasizing the significance of tactics in the reform campaign. The following pages will attempt to analyze the strategy adopted by Albert Dumont and, above all, Louis Liard in terms of the constraints imposed by the...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Education for the New Professions: Universities and Economic Development
    (pp. 162-195)

    In the latter partof the nineteenth century, faculties began to perform functions that were new to them. Earlier in the century they had been responsible for the education of teachers and the liberal professions. During the Third Republic, they diversified their activities and encroached on the terrain of both thegrandes écolesand the institutions of research and erudition. Research became a fundamental aspect of university life; courses of study in technology and commerce were introduced and professors performed a variety of economic functions including the testing of products and applied research. Especially close links were established with the...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Research and Publication in the French Universities
    (pp. 196-224)

    At the very centerof the project to reform higher education was the ambition to transform faculties into institutions of science and research. The founding members of the Société de I’Enseignement Supérieur emerged from the research sectors of the Université anxious to make over the entire faculty system in their image. The educational administrators appointed by Jules Ferry after 1878 were no less committed to the goal of adding “science” to the traditional tasks of professional training. And up to a point, they were successful in imposing their vision; for intellectual achievement was hardly foreign to the fundamental values of...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN The Expansion of the University Population
    (pp. 225-269)

    More than anyspecific measure introduced by the administration, it was the rapid growth of the student population that most decisively shaped universities during the Third Republic About 11,200 in 1876, the number of students reached 42,000 by 1914, the rate of growth of 2 75 compared favorably with the 2 39 growth rate in German universities during the same period At a time when enrollment in secondary education was stagnating, the percentage of university students rose from 0 3 per thousand population in 1876 to 1 0 per thousand in 1911 (The comparable figures for German universities were 35...

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT The Political Role of the Universities
    (pp. 270-314)

    Republican politicians,we have seen, gave academic reformers a mandate for change because they believed that higher education could play a major role in fostering social integration. Universities were supposed to bring together France’s dispersed student population in order to forge a united elite recruited by virtue of individual merit. Students were to be trained according to a coherent system of studies emphasizing gradual change and social order. Programs of teacher-training and general courses for the public would enable universities to extend their influence to the nonacademic population.

    During the next two decades, political events regularly brought the “social mission”...

  15. CHAPTER NINE The Academic Profession in the Reformed Universities
    (pp. 315-340)

    One of the unintendedconsequences of the university law of 1896 was to dissipate much of the reform sentiment within the academic community. No one stopped complaining, of course; that continued to be a basic feature of institutional life in France. But aside from a handful of isolated individuals—like Ferdinand Lot, to cite the best-known example—academics no longer called for a radical structural transformation of higher education. Most focused on limited problems and proposed equally limited solutions.

    It was not merely that a major reform had already been implemented. Academics had become part of the new republican “establishment,”...

  16. CHAPTER TEN The University Besieged
    (pp. 341-368)

    In the decadebefore the First World War, the reformed university came under intense attack. Not since the acrimonious debates of the 1860s and 1870s over the liberty of higher education was criticism of the universities so vociferous. Most of it was directed against the swollen Parisian faculties, viewed, quite correctly, as the power centers of the education system. Three loosely-related strands made up the campaign against universities. Firstly, journalists and writers who were part of the independent nonacademic intelligentsia and who often, though not always, represented the various shades of conservative opinion, mounted a vigorous attack against the Sorbonne...

  17. Conclusion
    (pp. 369-376)

    University reformduring the Third Republic was an exceedingly complex process. Bureaucratic struggles for power or resources, the professionalization of the academic career, new epistemological premises, political concerns, and economic pressures were but some of the factors that came into play. The development of the social sciences, to cite just one example, reflected the political demand for social integration, attempts by various institutions to monopolize the training of state administrators, and the growing pressure for education in business and commerce. At certain moments, one of these issues might predominate, but the others were seldom far from the surface.

    If there...

    (pp. 377-382)
    (pp. 383-387)
    (pp. 388-398)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 399-399)