UI Press releases study of contemporary academic anti-elitism

American Idyll: Academic Antielitism as Cultural Critique by Catherine Liu is now available from the University of Iowa Press.

Liu, the director of the University of California–Irvine’s Humanities Collective, argues that social mobility, once a revered hallmark of American society, has ebbed, as higher education has become a mechanistic process for efficient sorting that has more to do with class formation than anything else.

Liu reveals that, within the academy and stemming from the relatively new discipline of cultural studies, animosity against expertise has animated much of the Left’s cultural criticism. “American Idyll” claims that recent anti-elitism does nothing to redress the source of its discontent — growing economic inequality and diminishing social mobility.

Instead, pseudo-populist rage has been transformed into resentment, content merely to take down allegedly elitist cultural forms without questioning the real political and economic consolidation of powers that has taken place in America during the past 30 years.

The book may be obtained at bookstores or directly from the UI Press, 800-621-2736 or www.uiowapress.org. Customers in Europe, the Middle East or Africa may order from Eurospan Group at www.eurospanbookstore.com.