Title

Who Governed Yale? Kingman Brewster and Higher Education in the 1970s

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1-2013

Abstract

Relying on archival material and oral history, this essay examines two committees at Yale in the 1970s as case studies in how University President Kingman Brewster reshaped the school after the student unrest of the long 1960s. The first committee, led by the political scientist Robert Dahl, endorsed the equal admission of female students in 1972. The second committee, chaired by historian C. Vann Woodward, composed a nationally renowned report on the importance of “unfettered” free expression at the university in 1974-5. I show how each of these committees was a carefully calibrated political tool that allowed Brewster to moderate extreme positions he had taken in the 1960s on the questions of coeducation and free speech. More broadly, this essay contributes to our understanding of the American academy in the 1970s, at a time after the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War fervor had waned on college campuses.

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