<< The Body Politic

Mid-week roundup

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Baylor Air Force ROTC

Mid-week roundup:

  • Inside Higher Ed has an interview with Christopher P. Loss, author of the new book Between Citizens and the State: The Politics of American Higher Education in the 20th Century. As Loss explains, “One of the key arguments of the book is that during the 20th century the federal government turned to intermediary institutions to create administrative capacity in a political culture fearful of ‘big government.’ I contend that higher education was one of those intermediaries — it served as a key site where citizens learned about their government and the government, as a chief sponsor of higher education, learned about its citizens. This is what I mean when I say that higher education mediated relations between citizens and the state. Located at the literal and metaphoric crossroads of state-society relations, higher education is a really fruitful place to observe political and social change in the United States.”
  • At Baylor, Betty Spencer, the custodian for the school’s Air Force ROTC program, is retiring after more than 30 years–and the Baylor Lariat has a tribute to her here. As the newspaper reports, “One of Spencer’s favorite memories with the program is how students responded during and after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Although the detachment was placed on lock-down by higher authorities the day of the attacks, AFROTC saw a spike in requests for membership afterward. ‘We were never fearful,’ Spencer said. ‘Our students were told not to wear their uniforms during that time — they didn’t want them to be a target — but that was [a] nationwide [requirement]. After that, we had students, male and female, wanting to join our program. … That was a really great moment for me to see that we still have really great men and women out there willing to serve their country. They’re a great group, so I wouldn’t trade these 30 years off for anything.'”
  • In the latest Claremont Review of Books, Diana Schaub, co-editor of What So Proudly We Hail, has an essay exploring the life of Malcolm X–and the conflict of opinions between Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “civil disobedience” and Malcolm’s formulation of “ballots or bullets.” Read the whole thing here.