Whether the culture wars in higher education during the 1980s and 1990s had political consequences is debatable. But that they had enduring historical significance is inarguable. Shouting matches about academia reverberated beyond the ivory tower to lay bare a crisis of national faith, demonstrating that the culture wars did not boil down to any one specific issue or even a set of issues. Rather, the culture wars often hinged on a more epistemological question about national identity: How should Americans think?
Andrew Hartman studies U.S. intellectual history in the twentieth century with a focus on politics and education. His first book was Education And The Cold War: The Battle for the American School. He is currently working on A War For The Soul Of America: A History of the Culture Wars, From the 1960s to the Present. Professor Hartman is one of the founders of the U.S. Intellectual History blog (http://us-intellectual-history.blogspot.com), an award-winning group blog about the subject and practice of American intellectual history.