Education: The Canons Under Fire

Stanford cuts its book list

For two years a debate has raged at Stanford University and reverberated through scores of other schools over a question that could set new directions for American higher education. The issue: Should students be required to read a fixed core of works on Western civilization, and, if so, what should be in it? The heart of the dispute at Stanford has been whether to amend or remove from the university's freshman Western culture courses a roster of 15 prescribed classics. Many scholars regard those works, ranging from Homer and Dante to Darwin and Freud, as part of a sacred canon. But...

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