Temple University Press

Book: Knowledge for Social Change

Posted on July 31, 2017

Knowledge for Social Change
Bacon, Dewey, and the Revolutionary Transformation of Research Universities in the Twenty-First Century

by Lee Benson, Ira Harkavy, John Puckett, Matthew Hartley, Rita A. Hodges, Francis E. Johnston, and Joann Weeks

“Grounded in historical analyses about the theories and practices of civic participation in democratic societies, Knowledge for Social Change provides wonderful examples of and provocative perspectives on the critical role that higher education institutions—especially research universities—play in advancing social change in contemporary society. This book should be required reading for students in every college and university across the land.”
—Albert M. Camarillo, Professor of History, Haas Centennial Professor of Public Service, and Leon Sloss Jr. Memorial Professor Emeritus, Stanford University

Employing history, social theory, and a detailed contemporary case study, Knowledge for Social Change argues for fundamentally reshaping research universities to function as democratic, civic, and community-engaged institutions dedicated to advancing learning and knowledge for social change. The authors focus on significant contributions to learning made by Francis Bacon, Benjamin Franklin, Seth Low, Jane Addams, William Rainey Harper, and John Dewey—as well as their own work at Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships to help create and sustain democratically engaged colleges and universities for the public good.

Knowledge for Social Change highlights university-assisted community schools to effect a thoroughgoing change of research universities that will contribute to more democratic schools, communities, and societies. The authors also call on democratic-minded academics to create and sustain a global movement dedicated to advancing learning for the “relief of man’s estate”—an iconic phrase by Francis Bacon that emphasized the continuous betterment of the human condition—and to realize Dewey’s vision of an organic “Great Community” composed of participatory, democratic, collaborative, and interdependent societies.


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