Nicholas B. Dirks

Feb 9, 2024

City of Intellect

The Uses and Abuses of the University

Cambridge University Press 2023

Drawing from his experiences of having belonged to the faculty, administrative, and presidential circles of the university, author Nicholas B. Dirks offers his nuanced and comprehensive reflections on the solutions for the most pressing issues facing universities today. These range from issues with free speech, interdisciplinary work, budgeting costs, internal politics, and the devaluing of the liberal arts. In a time where universities face fierce attacks from the political right and left and a distrust from the general public, Dirks defends their role in society, as key institutions that guard and create new knowledge to understand the world at large and drive meaningful change. In City of Intellect: The Uses and Abuses of the University (Cambridge UP, 2024), Dirks argues for a reimagination of the university to ensure its survival and relevance in the years to come, positioning him as a visionary leader in a time where higher education needs it the most.

Nicholas B. Dirks is the current president and CEO of the renowned New York Academy of Sciences, one of the oldest scientific organizations in the United States. His notable past appointments include serving as the 10th Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley from 2013 to 2017, and as the Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculty for Arts and Sciences at Columbia University.

Ariadna Obregon is a PhD student at the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds. On Twitter/X: @AriadnaObregn1

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