Explorer Mikael Strandberg

That Lost Continent By Alicia Colson

That “lost continent”

By

Alicia Colson 

Until relatively recently I hadn’t really thought a great deal about those people who came to be known as the Republic of Letters.  I knew it existed.  I’ve found it fascinating that a thing that was so abstract lacking any fixed address or geographical location and which may well have perished nearly two centuries ago could attract such vitriolic comments from some of today’s academics.  I found it curious that some people even felt the need to attack it.  In fact I’ve been soundly reprimanded by several colleagues for even thinking about writing on this topic.

When someone tells me not to do something I’ll consider doing it, after thinking about it for a while!  And so, I read Anthony Grafton’s discussion of the Republic in his essays “Worlds Made by Words, Scholarship and Community in the Modern West (2009) and “A sketch of a lost continent’ (2009).  These articles whetted my curiosity.  I’d like to know more about the self-organizing networks of people who’ve emerged over time in order to achieve great things. After all, people like working together to improve the lives of all.  Many examples exist of such networks emerging and then doing good things (e. g. Lansing 2002 & 2003).  Perhaps the Republic of Letters is or perhaps was just one of these networks?

The Republic is usually discussed by academics in a very dry manner, nevertheless it seems to be an inspiring entity. So in what ways is the Republic of Letters comparable to a University, an institution with buildings and people? What is it? Where is it? Who belongs to it and who might have belonged to it, and belongs to it today?  While the Republic has its roots in antiquity, the first use of the term ‘Respublica literaria’ was in a letter from Francesco Barbaro, a Venetian humanist, to Poggio Bracciolini, his Florentine friend, in 1417 (Miller 2008: 45 & Yoran 2014: 257). Erasmus (1466-1536), a figure of towering stature who lived in northwestern Europe, is considered an early founder and active member of this community.  Members of the Republic came and maybe still do come from all walks of life as it remains a boundless entity with no physical borders.  It has a “scholarly soul [that] embraced all regardless of nationality, social class, age, sex and language where praise and honor are awarded by popular acclaim” according to Grafton (2009:9).  It has generated vast comment. In the space of a short time I was able to consult more than a hundred academic articles that address the history of the Republic, its origins, its growth, its nature, its members and its development.

So let me sum up what it appears to look like today.  Firstly whether it exists at all depends on who is looking at it.  Some refuse to acknowledge its existence.  It would seem that the Republic of Letters continues to exist as an amorphous cosmopolitan group of people who communicate with each other as friends and equals.  It is concerned with learning and through our empowerment through learning.  The Republic cuts across religions.  It remains separate from courts, governments, and churches.  This means that the members of this virtual community, could and can speak, think, work and live independently from these power structures.  It lacks bricks and mortar, a geographical location, an administration, it lacks precise rules of admittance as admittance is solely one’s peers and it also lacks an observable hierarchy and a titular head.  Yet it is tangible, a society, whose members communicate with each other based a culture of friendship and letter-writing.  Like the university, with which it commonly confused, its roots lie in antiquity, it exists throughout the world but was expressed differently in different forms spreading from Italy to the Netherlands, France and Germany and England where it achieved its institutional form.  The character of the Republic of Letters gradually changed, it became more open and included a wider group of individuals regardless of sex, background, or social origins.  Women were included in this group and they organized the Republic’s salons in Enlightenment France.  The members of the Republic with scientific interests appear to have been far more active than those with more literary concerns, and language differences might have inhibited communication.  At the same time, the political upheavals and incessant European wars of the 17th and 18th century caused members of the Republic to become increasingly more cosmopolitan. Indeed, the degree to which the character of its members have changed since it first emerged as an entity is a topic for discussion (see Daston 1991; Mayhew 2004; Miller 2008). During the late 17th and 18th centuries the Republic gained prominence and ‘a degree of concreteness’ (Daston 1991: 370).  The renaissance of the Republic came about because those individuals who became known as ‘intellectuals’, gained a new status and, ‘‘plunged into precarious sociability both with another and with their betters, that revived and promoted the idea of the Republic of Letters”.

The Republic of Letters promoted the exchange of information on a free and continuous basis through the use of letters (Fiering 1991; Burke 1999) which conveyed learned news to their reader(s).  This exchange of professional and private information was the means by which members of the Republic communicated with each other.  Correspondence was for these earlier members of the Republic the crucial medium of the group, but it was often supplemented by conversation, publications in research journals, exchanges of books, ideas, language and rhetoric.  These became the hallmarks of the social and ethical roles of the members of the Republic.

Friendship remained important, members of this cosmopolitan web of correspondence sometimes met, often by chance, but friendships flourished through the circulation of letters, manuscripts and books.  Members of this virtual community were involved in vigorous discussions and disputes, which started in letters, books, pamphlets and correspondence, and eventually evolved into the journals of the time (see Cook 2013, Machielsen 2011, Vermier 2012, Dierks 1998, Goodman 1989, Searle 2008, Winterer 2012).  The act of writing a letter, in itself a political act, meant that the letter was an amalgam of the personal and the private.  Letters seem to have been written for two readers: a specific individual and a more general readership.  The difference between the two was and is not easy to discern.  Much of this correspondence occurred between people who had never met, but as opportunities to travel, emerged during the period, so members of the republic encountered each other (Daston 1991: 371).  Even so their meetings were often a matter of chance rather than design.

The invention of the printing press during the mid-15th century had massive consequences for the dissemination of knowledge since access to the written word ceased to be the privilege of the few.  The moveable-type printing press, along with related inventions and consequent social arrangements, permitted printers to make books available in increasing quantities.  Printing houses, saw themselves as free agents autonomous, and became integral parts of the ‘Republic of Letters’.  They carried the thoughts and aspirations of writers across political boundaries (Eisenstein 1979).  Individuals who wanted information were no longer tied to the university or monastery library and were freed from supervision within church-supported activities (Bazerman & Rogers 2008: 155).  The proliferation of printing houses across Europe, often near university towns which were not under single religious jurisdictions had profound consequences.  Individual European governments lacked the ability to suppress the texts their rulers considered to be subversive.  Consequently both learning and communication of information became competitive forces.  They had the potential to enhance or destroy the status and hence the ability of monarchs to rule. These needed the respect of the universities if they were to win legitimacy in a Europe which became bitterly divided by the conflicts of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation.  Printers naturally set up in university towns, where controversy was often at its most acute.  Naturally relationships between universities and printers were not always cordial.  Printers could obtain the monopoly on printed academic matter (de Ridder-Symoens 2003: 202).  However those printers who owned an officina typographica academica had to observe local laws on printing, give priority to all university printing and do their printing for fixed prices (Ibid.).  Indeed, between c. 1450 – c. 1800 the “production, sale, conservation and consultation of books became an essential element of the university” (ibid: 204).  The presses were shackled by local conventions.  This made for a tetchy relationship between the press and the Republic.

As the publications and knowledge of each Realm came to be understood as part of the distinct heritage and vitality (economic, cultural, and spiritual) of each region, the language of publication switched from Latin, the previous international language of scholarship, to the local national vernacular (Bazerman 2008:158).  After the Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the 30 Years’ War, French displaced Latin as the language of diplomacy (Grafton 2009:9).  By the turn of the 18th century French had replaced Latin as the lingua franca of the learned world, of the university, as well as the Republic.  This shift reflected the importance of French science and letters during the reign of Louis XIV.  But some continued to publish in Latin in places that were further from the centres of the Republic, such as St Petersburg or Berlin. This encouraged the Republic to flourish.

The Republic grew considerably during the century and a half of the Enlightenment.  The end of the political upheavals of the 17th century and the advent of states which were not theocracies provided people with opportunities to socialize members of the aristocracy and royalty, who added to its numbers.  Men and women, relished the independence they could assert and opportunity it provided to air and access international connections and gave the Republic its distinctive and ‘genuine international character’ (Daston 1991: 372).

The self-confidence and self-esteem provided by the knowledge that many of its members belonged to the power elite gave the members of the Republic the ability to mould public opinion and in turn assert their independence.  All the while they held no role in the universities or the liberal professions, especially that of the law.  Power over knowledge was ebbing away from the clerics in Europe’s universities.  The Republic stepped into the gap in public knowledge which was left.  As the Republic developed during the 18th century, its members were increasingly able to influence public opinion and write their versions of the past.  As it grew increasingly powerful, its members were capable of creating or damaging the reputations of kings (Daston 1991: 371).  Essentially the life of the mind exercised significant influence through the activities of members of the Republic.

In sharp contrast Universities had been shackled by the influence of courts, governments, and churches for half a millennium.  They had a semi-official character sharply at variance with the Republic.  Today’s universities have their origins in those institutions.  Their teaching was limited by convention to a number of Latin texts and compendia, for example: Isidore of Seville’s (560–632) encyclopedic Etymologies and Boethius’ (ca. 480–ca. 525) Latin translations of Aristotle’s works on logic.  The few texts were housed in secure places such as Monastic Libraries.  The university became ‘the European institution par excellence’.  They were the creation of medieval Europe, the Europe of papal Christianity.  In only a very restricted sense did medieval universities share today’s universities’ missions to benefit society by transferring the knowledge contained within their walls both in their libraries and in the minds of their academics to their students.  Until the late nineteenth century, the equivalent person to today’s academic was a cleric who acted as teacher.  Today’s universities have emerged as descendants of ecclesiastical institutions, and their teachers still assert their authority by sitting, like bishops, on thrones called chairs, they continue to speak in a format prescribed by their peers, and on subjects approved by their peers.  They are groups of specialists, in very highly specific fields, whose comparatively vast experience on very narrow topics informs their teaching.  Admittance to a university is dictated by ever more precise rules.  Centuries ago a very small number students could move between universities and paid for their studies.  Hundreds of thousands now follow precise guidelines and are provided with specific outcomes as a reward.  Universities have clear observable hierarchies and structures which, in the case of those which have European roots, strongly resemble their monastic origins.  Their members may still wear [mediaeval] ceremonial garments that indicate their rank in the scholarly community.  These garments reflect the fact that religion played a dominant role in university life for many centuries.  They have libraries and classrooms, a geographical location and a functioning and formal administration, consisting of Wardens, Provosts, Deans, the equivalent to which can be found in any cathedral.  Although some universities around the world have evolved into different entities, popular perceptions focus on the familiar ecclesiastical representations found in ‘Dead Poets’ Society’, ‘Brideshead Revisited’ and ‘Inspector Morse’.

Universities while being sovereign entities resemble us as individuals, as they too have their faults, their problems, their positive attributes, winnings. But unlike us they cannot change radically, quickly but they can learn from their errors, their misjudgements and when they’ve achieved something beneficial. In the case of universities the manner in which they shift direction, change their goals is slow since they are analogous to those huge super tankers that move through the ocean. So, when they make mistakes which they do like all of us, the speed in which these can be identified and rectified is obviously slow. Huge super tankers can’t move quickly.

What is important to remember that the emergence of the university as we know it has occurred during the past two hundred and fifty years as it saw the development and implement of the Oxbridge Tutorial, the London Tutorial model, the Scottish model, the Prussian/Humboldt traditions implemented initially in Reichsuniversität Strassburg and elsewhere in the German speaking world, subsequently adopted by John Hopkins University in 1876 in the US.  Since Jews and Christians are an important part of classical Islamic civilization they all have made a major contribution to the pedagogic traditions of Europe (Anderson, Tan & Suleiman 2011: 9). Each of these pedagogical traditions encourages a strong relationship between the student and the teacher and attempt to instill intellectual independence and ensure that the student is empowered.  The Prussian/Humboldt university model spread, from John Hopkins throughout North America’s university system. Indeed, since the founding of Harvard in 1636 American institutions of higher education, both state-owned and private, have held a privileged position for a long period of time because they focused on the needs of society rather than self-gain.  At the same time it is important to remember as Cardinal John Newman argued in the preface of his book “The Idea of a University” (1852) that the university is a place where,

Just as a commander wishes to have tall and well-formed and vigorous soldiers, not from any abstract devotion to the military standard of height or age, but for the purposes {xii} of war, and no one thinks it anything but natural and praiseworthy in him to be contemplating, not abstract qualities, but his own living and breathing men; so, in like manner, when the Church founds a University, she is not cherishing talent, genius, or knowledge, for their own sake, but for the sake of her children, with a view to their spiritual welfare and their religious influence and usefulness, with the object of training them to fill their respective posts in life better, and of making them more intelligent, capable, active members of society.”

Preface, John Henry Newman (Cardinal) The Idea of a University, (1852)

Cardinal John Henry Newman had been an Anglican at Oxford but he wrote this as the Rector of the new Catholic University of Ireland, Dublin. He drew on Aristotle’s idea that the development of reason, moral grounding and pursuit of knowledge was a prerequisite for citizenship in the fullest sense. The notion of making students more intelligent capable active members of society draws on Aristotle who had discussed and recognised their utility in building a democratic society.

From the late nineteenth century the disciplines became formalized in the form of national academies, faculties and departments within universities, which operate as sovereignties. The number of universities has grown radically globally during this time period with considerable consequences. In the US it is unlikely that those who established John Hopkins and implemented the new model realized, over a hundred years later that there would be 300 universities in the United States that confer doctoral degrees. This number is far more than the original proselytizers who introduced the research-university model, the Humboldt model, realized. The Morrill Act of 1862 enabled the US’s States to create colleges of higher education to teach ‘agriculture and mechanic arts’. This meant that the US arguably created the world’s first mass higher education system. But a university system emerged which had service to specific needs as its raison d’etre. These institutions could find themselves at odds with the Republic and were fertile soil for the growth of a Republic of Disciplines.

The global funding crisis of the universities began in 1968 as they were regarded as ‘intellectual luxuries we could do without’ and, as intended, that crisis had a direct impact on the future of the Republic of Letters. Academics in institutions funded to pursue disciplines naturally found the protection offered by the Republics of Disciplines to be more effective in the immediate defence of their activities. Communities under siege are almost never positive, continued loyalty to the Republic of Letters offered little apparent chance of raising relieving armies. But what became imperilled in the siege was the moral integrity of the university itself. These many Republics of Disciplines, many of which were outcomes of the same activities were features of the Humboltian university, saw themselves at odds with the Republic of Letters. The Republic of Disciplines gained a Pyrrhic victory. For the defeat of the Republic fatally weakened the Humboltian universities. They would shortly fail to meet the unprecedented demand of the digital age for broadly-based science, research and education. Ironically such an education, is fuelled by an understanding of art, mathematics, music, letters and physics with which the members of the Republic would claim easy familiarity. The weakness of global universities to adequately respond to the specialized knowledge requirements of the early 21st century can be securely dated to 1968.

Today formidable challenges face every university.  They are called upon fulfil a vital human function: to enable all peoples to realize their abilities in a hyper-global world.  Governments are forced to confront the funding challenges inherent in such an endeavour: funding both very large numbers of very expensive universities and their vast and heterogeneous student populations.  They have generally failed to grasp the nettle, and, aware of Reagan’s undoubted political success attempted to avoid the challenge for as long as possible.  The US’s multi-tiered university system has over 300 institutions which grant doctorates, and students past and present carry $1.3tr of student debt.  Both universities and their students are part of, “the greatest global massification of higher education ever experienced”, as global enrolment has increased from 100 million in 2000 to 177.6 million in 2010, despite the global slowdown in economic growth (Varghese, Panigrahi, and Heslop 2015) and even as universities face a tough time financially.  Universities are now ‘ranked’ and their ability to survive as institutions may depend on the ‘ranking’ they can earn.  The university world is a global one, but university politics are heavily influenced by the national experience.  At the same time they are  buffeted by the disruption caused by the digital revolution on the publishing world, with consequent economic shifts and the vigorous and well-articulated demands of global audiences who want research, access to publications, and greater transparency from ‘their ‘universities.  The parallels between the worlds of the Republic of Letters and the universities are not hard to see.

Even so some historians argue that the Republic of Letters no longer exists.  They argue that it had perished by 1800 when it was transformed into a broader and more encompassing entity as a consequence of the influence of “our modern academic disciplines and more nationally bound scholarly institutional practices that triumphed in the later nineteenth century” (Winterer 2012: 600).  Napoleon, founder of the Grandes Écoles might have agreed.  But it is possible to some would argue that notice of its ‘demise’ is exaggerated.  They argue that there may be many Republics, these  reflects the plethora of disciplines and carry on regardless of the heavily bureaucratized national institutions and highly-organized ‘modern academic disciplines’ that seek to marshal the energies of scholars from around the globe.  Historians of science, for example discuss the Republic as existing today, as active, large and important, with its members sharing a deeply-held moral and ethical viewpoint.

Interestingly, membership in a university doesn’t necessarily confer membership in the Republic of Letters and no-one really knows who’s a ‘paid up member of the Republic’.  But that has not prevented some of today’s academics from seeking to clamber into their catedra to proclaim themselves as the sole sources of authority and legitimacy.  They are hostile to the ethos of the Republic.  The debate between such catedras and the members of the Republic has become more vigorous.  The Republic of Letters naturally disseminates ideas/content through multiple social media.  That social media is naturally crowd-sourced.  It is well known that researchers during the last decade opposed Wikipedia because it had not gone through a “rigorous” form of peer review such as the Encyclopedia Britannica.  That argument seemed plausible until the journal Science conducted surveys of articles from both sources and discovered that the rate of errors in Wikipedia were comparable to Encyclopedia Britannica’s.  Crowd-sourcing and crowd-review emerge as rigorous as expert peer-review and respond more quickly to errors or the advent of new ideas.  Opposition to the Republic springs from a similar source, especially where acclaim comes from many peers, not the approval of a select few.  In contrast the Republic expresses itself in social media, it is not centrally controlled and therefore power lies with those who express themselves most coherently.  Such power is distributed.

The Republic of Letters needs to consider its relationship to the Republic of Disciplines which itself, is the major threat to the universities. Universities, as sovereign entities, are finding themselves in a tricky situation since they draw their resources from local economies, with ‘all politics being local’ while increasingly having to be global. Perhaps opposition to the Republic of Letters originates from the Republic of Disciplines. Perhaps this is because the Republic of Letters and the universities are increasingly not local, so the Republic gains in strength from the worldwide growth of literacy, from the massive expansion of student population in an age of hyper-globalization, from the pervasive nature of social media.  The worldwide web is a democratic medium, similar to the early printing press.  Its original purpose was to enable scientists at the CERN ‘republic’ to share and publish ideas within their community, but has encouraged the dissemination, creation, curation and communication of ideas.  But CERN also might be called the Republic of Science. But what it has done is that it has ended up accelerating the course of debate, for good and ill: the revived Republic of Letters is perhaps our last best chance for optimism.

Cited references:

Anderson, P., C. Tan & Y. Suleiman (2011) Reforms in Islamic Education. Cambridge, England: Prince Alweed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge.

Bazerman, C. (2008). Theories of the Middle Range in Historical Studies of Writing Practice. Written Communication 25 (3): 298–318.

Bazerman, C. & P. Rogers. (2008). Writing and Secular Knowledge Within Modern European Institutions. In Handbook of Research on Writing: History, Society, School, Individual, Text. Charles Bazerman, ed. Pp. 139–152. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

De Ridder-Symoens, H. (2003). Management and Resources. In A History of the University in Europe: Universities in Early Modern Europe 1500-1800. Hilde de Ridder-Symoens and Walter Rüege, eds. Pp. 154–209. Cambridge, England: University of Cambridge Press.

Burke, P. (1999). Erasmus and the Republic of Letters. European Review 7(1): 5–17.

Cook, W. J. (2013). The Correspondence of Thomas Dale (1700–1750) Botany in the Transatlantic Republic of Letters. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43: 232–243.

Daston, L. (1991). The Ideal and Reality of the Republic of Letters in the Enlightenment. Science in Context 3 (2): 367–386.

Dierks, K. (1998). Letter Writing, Masculinity, and American Men of Science, 1750-1800. Pennsylvania History 65 Explorations in Early American Culture: 167 – 198.

Eisenstein, E. L. (1989). The Printing Press as an Agent of Change. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Fiering, N. S. (1976). The Transatlantic Republic of Letters: A Note on the Circulation of Learned Periodicals to Early Eighteenth-Century America. The William and Mary Quarterly 33 (4): 642–660.

Grafton, A. (2009). Worlds Made by Words, Scholarship and Community in the Modern West. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press.

Grafton, A. (2009). A Sketch Map of a Lost Continent: The Republic of Letters. Republics of Letters: A Journal for the Study of Knowledge, Politics and the Arts (1). http://rofl.stanford.edu/node/34.

Goodman, D. (1989). Enlightenment Salons: The Convergence of Female and Philosophic Ambitions. Eighteenth-Century Studies 22: 3 (Special Issue: The French Revolution in Culture): 329–350.

Lansing, J. S. (2002). “‘Artificial Societies’ and the Social Sciences.” Santa Fe Institute Working Papers and Artificial Life 8: 279–292.

Lansing, J. S. (2003). “Complex Adaptive Systems.” Annual Review of Anthropology 32: 183–204.

Machielsen, J. (2011). Friendship and Religion in the Republic of Letters; the Return of Justus Lipsius to Catholicism (1591). Renaissance Studies 27 (2): 161– 182.

Mayhew, R. (2004). British Geography’s Republic of Letters: Mapping an Imagined Community, 1600-1800. Journal of the History of Ideas 65 (2): 251–276.

Miller, P. N. (2008). The Renaissance Republic of Letters and the Genesis of Enlightenment. In Europäische Bildungsströme. Die Viadrina in Kontext Der Europäischen Gelehrtenrepublik Der Frühen Neuzeit (1506-1811). Reinhard Blänkner, ed. Pp. 45–60. Berlin: Schöneiche.

Newman, John Henry (1852). The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated. I. In Nine Discourses Delivered to the Catholics of Dublin II. In Occasional Lectures and Essays Addressed to the Members of the Catholic University. London, New York, Bombay and Calcutta: Longmans, Green, and Co.

Varghese, N. V., Panigrahi, J. & L. Heslop (2015) Going Global 2015: Challenges Facing the World’s Largest HE Systems, February 27. http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20150225085033128.

Vermier, K. (2012). The Dustbin of the Republic of Letters Pierre Bayle’s “Dictionaire” as an Encyclopaedic Palimpsest of Errors. Journal of Early Modern Studies 1 (1): 109–149.

Winterer, C. (2012). Where Is America in the Republic of Letters. Modern Intellectual History 9 (3): 597–623.

Yoran, H. (2014). The Erasmian Republic of Letters and Its Discontents. In Erasmus and the Republic of Letters. Stephen Ryle, ed. Pp. 257–278. Turnhout: Brepolis Publisher.

Dr. Alicia Colson (McGill) wrote this short piece based a larger discussion paper entitled “The Past, Present and the Future of Higher Education in the United States of America: A Discussion” for Professor Emeritus Stanley N. Katz, at Princeton University (http://wws.princeton.edu/faculty-research/faculty/snkatz). She has been an archaeologist since 1990 and has undertaken archaeological fieldwork in Canada, the UK, the US, and Antigua (http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Alicia_Colson). She has worked in digital humanities since 1990 and as an ethnohistorian since 2006. She is an archaeologist specializing in the examination of rock images (often called rock art) with research tools derived from the experience of the digital humanities and computing science. She was the Chief Scientist for the Craters and Canyons 2014 Expedition to Namibia led by Sam McConnell (http://www.sam-mcconnell-expeditions.com/) and (http://www.pictograph.org.uk/) for the British Exploring Society (http://www.britishexploring.org/). She is also involved in the creation of a consortium drawn from the world of New Media and Academe to establish a new digital Anglo-Canadian publishing house. She is a Fellow of the Explorers Club (FI’10) and was recently elected as a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (https://www.therai.org.uk/).

 

4 comments

  1. Goodness, Alicia. Very well written, but quite a departure, I would have thought, from your usual interests – and none the worse for that!

    Montaigne is my hero as a ‘man of letters’ – “if I play with my cat”, he muses, “how do I know my cat is not playing with me?” So your republic goes back to the sixteenth century, at least. But do we need to give it boundaries anyway, whether of date, place or personnel? Lacking those, it is both more and less powerful than the body politic – a collective of right-thinking people who ought to be celebrating Ed’s victory in the election, but are stuck, it seems forever, with the Etonians!

    I’m typing this with one finger, having twisted something in my left shoulder over the weekend, so can’t go on. But it’s good to see you launching courageously into the blogosphere like this, Thank you for sharing your paper with me!

    Love,

    Colin

  2. Dear Alicia,

    Thanks for this. I just spent the weekend at a conference on the future of higher education, and some of the same themes came up.

    Andre

  3. Hi Alicia,
    Just thought I’d tell you that I read with great interest your article
    posted on ResearchGate, re: the Republic of Letters. What a great breadth of
    reading you have. It was very thought-provoking.
    Hope all is well for you.
    George

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