Michael S. RothSep 7, 2023
A Short History
Yale University Press 2023
In The Student: A Short History (Yale UP, 2023), Michael S. Roth narrates a vivid and dynamic history of students, exploring some of the principal models for learning that have developed in very different contexts, from the sixth century BCE to the present.
Beginning with the followers of Confucius, Socrates, and Jesus and moving to medieval apprentices, students at Enlightenment centers of learning, and learners enrolled in twenty-first-century universities, he explores how students have been followers, interlocutors, disciples, rebels, and children becoming adults. There are many ways to be a student, Roth argues, but at their core is developing the capacity to think for oneself by learning from others, and thereby finding freedom.
In an age of machine learning, this book celebrates the student who develops more than mastery, cultivating curiosity, judgment, creativity, and an ability to keep learning beyond formal schooling. Roth shows how the student throughout history has been someone who interacts dynamically with the world, absorbing its lessons and creatively responding to them.
Michael Roth is president of Wesleyan University.
Benjamin Phillips is an MA student in History at Ohio University. His primary field is Late Antique Cultural and Intellectual History.