Building the Ivory Tower

My major work of original research thus far is my book, entitled Building the Ivory Tower, which will be released in the fall of 2017 with the University of Pennsylvania Press. I examine the role of universities as urban developers and their spatial interventions in American cities. In short, universities advance knowledge at the expense of neighbors, pursuing global ambitions while bound up in local communities. In addition, I have produced several publications from the original research. [CV]

My abstract:

… I argue that the physical growth of American universities throughout the twentieth century held significant implications for the larger metropolitan order of their host communities. Indeed, universities were a major and previously unrecognized factor in the process of urbanization around the country. By examining several university-city cases, this work illustrates that institutional growth could catalyze changes in patterns of urban investment, as in Muncie, Indiana; reinforce boundaries of urban segregation, as in Austin, Texas; drain the vitality of near-campus neighborhoods as hotbeds of creative political activity through urban renewal, as in Hyde Park, Chicago; or catalyze political protest, as in Berkeley, California. As universities expanded in size with the aid of federal funding sources and developed increasingly national and global identities at the expense of local affinities, these physical, political, and intellectual changes often brought the institutions into conflict with their communities and created tension between the student body and university administrators. Universities responded by embracing the ideal of objectivity and restricting overtly political considerations and statements by faculty and students—part of a growing consensus in favor of democratic capitalism in broad opposition to communism. This restriction of political possibilities was likewise reflected in the built environment of universities, expressing ambivalence or denial of responsibility about their roles in urban development and American politics. The notion of the “ivory tower” was established as a critique of higher education in this period, an architectural metaphor constructed to chastise individuals and institutions reluctant to administer and support the Cold War struggle for American hegemony.

I am making the original dissertation available in several parts via the Web. It is substantially different from the book, which is reframed and based in extensive new research. This is actually better quality than you can get from ProQuest, because this version has the original color images (ProQuest scans in lower quality black and white) and less expensive depending on your institution’s ProQuest subscription level. [Front Matter | Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Bibliography] Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or amendments. lwinling {at} gmail {dot} com.