Review : Histoire des universités, XIIe – XXIe siècle by Christophe Charle and Jacques Verger in History of Education, March 2014

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  This article was downloaded by: [Queen Mary, University of London], [Charlotte Faucher]On: 25 March 2014, At: 06:23Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK History of Education: Journal of theHistory of Education Society Publication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information: Histoire des universités, XIIe–XXIesiècle Charlotte Faucher aa  Queen Mary, University of LondonPublished online: 21 Mar 2014. To cite this article:  Charlotte Faucher (2014): Histoire des universités, XIIe–XXIe siècle, History of Education: Journal of the History of Education Society, DOI: 10.1080/0046760X.2014.898805 To link to this article: PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLETaylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the “Content”) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever orhowsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arisingout of the use of the Content.This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at  BOOK REVIEW Histoire des universités, XIIe  –  XXIe siècle  by Christophe Charle and JacquesVerger, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2012, 336 pp.,  € 20.00 (paperback),ISBN 978-2-13-058813-9  Histoire des universitiés, XIIe  –   XXIe siècle  (History of universities, 12th  –  21st century) is written in French, and co-authored by Christophe Charle, France ’ s prominent cultural and social historian, and Jacques Verger, a specialist in medievaluniversities. It stems from a 1994 publication in the  ‘ Que sais-je ’  collection,re-edited and augmented in 2007. The present collection  ‘ Quadrilege manuel ’ enabled the authors to further develop their study to which they have added animportant section (part III of the book) on the post-Second World War period.Charle and Verger  ’ s work mostly relies on secondary French and foreign academic publications. Covering 10 centuries in around 300 pages, they offer a useful synthe-sis of the recent scholarship on the topic. By doing so, they go beyond the onlyFrench, and quite outdated, publication on the history of universities in the world by Irsay Stephan, and review a larger geographical area (though in less depth) thanRüegg Walter  ’ s  A History of the University in Europe  (4 vols, Cambridge,1992  –  2011). It is indeed the  󿬁 rst French publication to offer such a comprehensiveanalysis of the history of universities in terms of chronology and geography.The book aims at analysing universities in relation to social and politicalnational contexts, as well as underlining their structural and internal evolution fromthe twelfth century to the present day. Along the lines of the recent developmentsin historiography, the authors argue that the history of universities, as part of cul-tural history, allows a better understanding of intellectual and social developmentsin the world.In a  󿬁 rst part written by Jacques Verger, this ambitious work traces the srcinsof universities, notably in Italy, England and France, and the diffusion of thismodel throughout Europe. The model of the  ‘ university ’  is studied as a  ‘ commu-nauté (plus ou moins) autonome de maîtres et d ’ étudiants réunis pour assurer à unniveau supérieur l ’ enseignement d ’ un certain nombre de disciplines ’  (a more or lessautonomous community of masters and students gathered at a higher level to teacha number of subjects) (p. 2). The  󿬁 rst four chapters deal with the birth of the oldest universities  –   Bologna, Paris and Oxford  –   and the medicine school of Montpellier,mingling the analysis with historiographical debates, notably the relationship between medieval culture and universities (chapter 2). Arguing that the earliest uni-versities hailed from a long tradition of intellectual knowledge ( trivium  and  qua-drivium ) often taught within cathedral schools and subsequently by independent masters, the  󿬁 rst chapter of the book looks at the pre-history of the creation of uni-versities in France and Italy, insisting on the Church ’ s in 󿬂 uence. From this, Verger demonstrates that in the second part of the twelfth century most cathedral schoolsand law centres declined, except in Bologna, Paris, Oxford, and later on in Mont- pellier, these being endowed with either papal or royal prerogatives. This resulted  History of Education , 2014    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   Q  u  e  e  n   M  a  r  y ,   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   L  o  n   d  o  n   ] ,   [   C   h  a  r   l  o   t   t  e   F  a  u  c   h  e  r   ]  a   t   0   6  :   2   3   2   5   M  a  r  c   h   2   0   1   4  in the formation of universities in the early thirteenth century. Beyond the study of the legal and administrative structure of universities, Verger offers insights on stu-dent sociology and experience, shedding light on their geographical and socialmobility. In a third chapter, he underlines the historiographical gap in the studies of early modern universities which have long been seen as minor cultural foyers asopposed to their medieval counterparts. Verger argues that the religious changesimpacted upon the typologies and structures of universities and that, in parallel, stu-dent unions lost their relative independence to colleges of professors, monarchs,states or pontiffs. Drawing from his own research, as well as studies undertaken onEngland and Italy, Verger analyses the  󿬂 uctuations in the student population fromthe sixteenth to the eighteenth century, underlining the end of the  peregrinationacademia , notably due to confessional divides. He identi 󿬁 es a global rise of univer-sity studies within European societies, emphasising disparities between Protestant countries and France and Mediterranean Europe. Sources offer an obvious chal-lenge to Verger who, in attempting to give an insight into student life and student numbers prior to 1800, is faced with the scarcity and poor quality of the archives.In the second part of the book, Charle reviews the major changes that affecteduniversities from the eighteenth century to the Second World War. With a transna-tional perspective, he underlines the in 󿬂 uences of the German or Anglo-Saxonmodels throughout the world. He argues for the institutionalisation of universities, but does not offer a homogeneous portrayal of the situation, highlighting differ-ences and similarities at an international and national level. The structure of the book, with a section devoted to Scandinavia, Asia and South America, clearlyechoes the widening of the academic world.The third part, on  ‘ the universalisation of the University since 1945 ’ , builds onthe idea of massi 󿬁 cation introduced in the preceding part on  ‘ social openness ’ (ouverture sociale). It is only regrettable that merely a few pages are devoted toAsia and Africa in this period. Beyond institutional history, Charle analyses student activism with an obvious section on the 1968 protests that he links to the rapidacademic changes in 1950  –  1970. The last and biggest chapter of the book enlargesthe theme of massi 󿬁 cation and questions the idealised image of a knowledgesociety, rather arguing for a knowledge economy, which, according to Charle ’ sthesis, enhances social, local, national and international disparities. Here again, heconnects the transformation of society  –   demography, the position of women,economic growth or slowdown, political changes  –   with  󿬂 uctuations in universities.This allows him to look into the impact of private actors and neoliberal ideas onthe Western academic world and to underline the internationalisation of studies,with the exception of some geographical areas and academic topics. In thetwentieth century, for example, he argues that, the multiplication of privateuniversities and non-academic training bodies, intertwined with massi 󿬁 cation,created a new audience.The  󿬁 nal asset of the book is undeniably the extensive and well-documented bibliography included at the end of the book. The  󿬁 rst part lists general readings aswell as monographs and national histories for seven European countries. It is thenfollowed by a chronologically ordered bibliography from the medieval (mostlydealing with publications on Europe) to the post-1945 period, which gives roomfor websites, reports, data and contemporary studies, issued by education ministries,Unesco, the OECD or scholars from other parts of the world. There is no doubt  2  Book review    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   Q  u  e  e  n   M  a  r  y ,   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   L  o  n   d  o  n   ] ,   [   C   h  a  r   l  o   t   t  e   F  a  u  c   h  e  r   ]  a   t   0   6  :   2   3   2   5   M  a  r  c   h   2   0   1   4  that this book, impressive in terms of both its temporal and its geographical scope,as well as its wide-ranging bibliography, will be of use to international scholars.Charlotte Faucher  Queen Mary, University of  © 2014, Charlotte Faucher  History of Education  3    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   Q  u  e  e  n   M  a  r  y ,   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   L  o  n   d  o  n   ] ,   [   C   h  a  r   l  o   t   t  e   F  a  u  c   h  e  r   ]  a   t   0   6  :   2   3   2   5   M  a  r  c   h   2   0   1   4
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