History of Catholic Higher Education in the U.S.: 1880-1962

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Sat, 08/01/1992
End Date: 
Sat, 07/31/1993

This project involved research into the history of Catholic higher education in the United States during the twentieth century. In the book by Philip Gleason that resulted, Contending with Modernity, Gleason argues that American higher education in the twentieth century reflects an ongoing interaction with both intellectual and organizational modernity. As a result of this encounter, he suggests, that Catholic institutions of higher education are now so modern they exhibit the "characteristic debility of modernity -- uncertainty about their 'identity,' who they are and what they stand for."
His chapter in The Secularization of the Academy looks specifically at the years 1940-1990. These decades are divided into three periods, and the changes and issues confronting American Catholic Higher Education are described in some detail. The chapter concludes that Catholic institutions of higher education lack clear identity and consensus about what role faith should play in the intellectual work of higher education.
His article in the U S Catholic Historian discusses the history of the debate about Catholic intellectualism and discusses in further detail some of the more significant issues developed from this debate. (LT)