Cary Nelson and the Struggle for the University

Poetry, Politics, and the Profession

Edited by Michael Rothberg & Peter K. Garrett

Subjects: Cultural Studies, American Studies, Higher Education, Poetry, Literary Theory
Paperback : 9780791476802, 255 pages, January 2009
Hardcover : 9780791476796, 255 pages, January 2009

Table of contents

1. An Exemplary Career: Cary Nelson and the Struggle for the University
Michael Rothberg and Peter K. Garrett
2. Preserving Thresholds: The Scholar in the Museum, Junk Shop, and Library
Edward Brunner
3. Cary Nelson:Expanding the Canon of American Poetry
Walter Kalaidjian
4. "We Should Always Read What Other People Assure Us Is No Good": The Good of the No Good
Grant Farred
5. The Lives of Haiku Poetry: Self, Selflessness, and Solidarity in Concentration Camp Haiku
Karen Jackson Ford
6. Contexts, Choruses, and Katabases (Canonical and Non-): Some Methodological Implications of Cary Nelson's Recovery Work
Michael Thurston
7. Worlds to Win:Toward a Cultural Studies of the University Itself
Marc Bousquet
8. The Organization Man
Michael Bérubé
9. The Humanities, the University, and the Enemy Within
Stephen Watt
10. Everyday Life at the Corporate University
Jane Juffer
11. Who's Afraid of Cultural Studies?
Lisa Duggan
12. The Rise of the Global University
Andrew Ross
13. Graduate Mentoring: A Poetics
Marsha Bryant
14. Empire and the Anxiety of Influence
Brady Harrison
15. Learning My Professional Responsibilities
James D. Sullivan
16. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Jim Finnegan
17. Cary Nelson at the Naval Academy
Jeff Sychterz
18. Without Shame: On Cary Nelson's Legacy
John Marsh
19. Activism and Community in the Academy
Cary Nelson
List of Contributors

Scholars engage the ideas and legacy of Cary Nelson in conversations about the corporate university, teaching, poetry, and activism.


At a time when the humanities are suffering crises of funding and legitimacy, Cary Nelson and the Struggle for the University provides an alternative vision: a clear-eyed, nondogmatic approach to engaged scholarship and educational activism in the interest of the public good. This collection brings together distinguished and rising cultural studies scholars to explore the ways in which Cary Nelson's work unites scholarship and activism, demonstrating the need for radical engagement in order to democratize the academy and the production of knowledge in and about American culture. Neither a Festschrift nor a tribute, the volume looks at the new directions Nelson's work has inspired in research and activism about the history and politics of the academy, cultural studies, modern American poetry, and graduate pedagogy and mentoring. An engaging afterword by Cary Nelson is also included.

Michael Rothberg is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Traumatic Realism: The Demands of Holocaust Representation. Peter K. Garrett is Professor of English and Criticism and Interpretive Theory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Gothic Reflections: Narrative Force in Nineteenth-Century Fiction.


"…[a] stimulating, wide-ranging book." — symploke

"To sustain the university and enable it to enrich American culture, we need to redefine the communities dedicated to research. This book creates such a community." — Cary Nelson

"Cary Nelson exemplifies the committed intellectual. This book recognizes him as a faculty model in just the way one wants: a readable, learned, and politically astute collection full of love and rage." — Paula Rabinowitz, author of They Must Be Represented: The Politics of Documentary

"Rarely do a scholar's civic and intellectual pursuits blend as naturally and seamlessly as they have in Cary Nelson's career. It would be difficult for a single volume to do justice to the breadth and interconnectedness of such a scholar's contributions. Cary Nelson and the Struggle for the University does so impressively. The essays collected here attest admirably to his remarkable influence as poetry scholar, tireless and astute activist in the struggle for integrity in education, and engaged mentor." — Adolph Reed Jr., author of Class Notes: Posing as Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene