The Place of Berkeley in the History of Universities

History 24

Fall 2012
Unit 3 - 2400 Durant Avenue - Room L45
Day & Time: 
TuTh 2-330P
  • This course does not count for credit toward the History Major but may fulfill other requirements.
  • This intensive 5-week course is designed to complement Fiat Lux Redux, the Fall Semester 2012 bancroft Library exhibition and tribute to both the University of California and its celebrated president, Clark Kerr. His contributions were many. The class will view and discuss the exhibitions and Kerr’s lifelong work, walk about the campus to better grasp its plan, architecture and symbolism, and visit classrooms in order to appreciate how learning and space are interrelated. We will venture into the world of the internet and interactive computer instruction in order to gain some perspective on teaching and the undergraduate learning experience in the 21st century. The changing nature of student life over many years will receive special attention. Discussions of the present-day university will be viewed within the context of the 800-year old history of the university as a self-governing corporation. The overall object is to understand Berkeley’s special place within that ancient legacy, the ways in which it is both generic and unique. A small amount of reading and several very brief written exercises will be used to focus discussion. The course is designed to introduce freshman students to the history and pleasures of a great world university, to understand its rich heritage and special intellectual and cultural qualities. The hope is that such an introduction will add immeasurably to personal and intellectual growth.   This seminar is part of the On the Same Page initiative.

    Sheldon Rothblatt is Professor of History Emeritus. He was Associate Dean of Students, L&S, chair of History, and Director of the Center for Studies in Higher Education at Berkeley. His specialties are Modern Europe and the comparative history of universities. He is a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (the body that grants most of the Nobel Prizes), a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Britain and a Member of the National Academy of Education. Besides Berkeley, he has taught at other universities in the US and abroad. He has also been decorated by the King of Sweden as Knight Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star (the Order was founded in 1748).


    Attendance at the first class meeting on August 23, 2012 is mandatory to secure your place in the seminar. This seminar will meet on ten dates: August 23, August 28, August 30, September 4, September 6, September 11, September 13, September 20, September 25 and September 27, 2012. Food for Thought dining arrangements will be discussed in class.