For over 50 years, Minerva has been one of the leading independent journals in the study of ‘science, learning and policy’. Its pages have much to say about the origins and conduct of the ‘intellectual Cold War’, the defence of academic freedom, the emergence of modernization theory, and pioneering strategies in the social studies of science. This paper revisits Minerva through the life and times of its founding Editor, Edward Shils, and traces his influence on its early years – from its association with the Congress for Cultural Freedom in the 1950s, to the higher reaches of research policy in the 1990s. At the close of his life, Minerva continued to espouse Shils’ commitment to what he saw as the fundamental Enlightenment traditions of consensus, civility, and community. In the 21st century, with the achievements of science producing rapid change in every walk of life, his legacy so far retains an established place in the history of scholarship. Whether that legacy will endure – and if so, what role Minerva will play in its defence – remain key questions for the coming generation.
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University of Chicago Chronicle, 14(11), (2 February 1995), 2.
For reflections on his life and times, see Gould (1981) and Shattock (1996). For an important appreciation, Eisenstadt (1997). Shils’ articles and editorials in Minerva are recorded in Minerva, 34 (1996), 125–157. A comprehensive listing of his writings has been compiled by his former secretary, Christine C. Schnusenberg, and Gordon B. Neavill (Schnusenberg and Neavill 1997), and is available on-line at http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/59.
Dismissing Wirth as ‘a promise rather than a fulfilment’, see Shils (2006: 34).
Merton also credits George Sarton as nurturing his introduction to the history of science (Merton 1985).
Shils mentions several émigrés to New York from the famous Institut für Sozialforschung who also served in the OSS, and later became professors at Columbia (Shils 1970a).
‘A very good address for a young man’, he later confessed. Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Josselson Papers, 24.5, Shils to Josselson, 26 January 1968.
Shils describes Wilson as ‘one of the most brilliant men I have ever met’ (Shils 2006: 57). For the attempt to understand the motivations of Nazi leadership, see Pick (2009, 2012). After the war, Shils also designed and guided the interviews of defectors from the Soviet Army in Germany. See Josselson Papers, 24.4, Shils to Josselson, 7 November 1974. In 1947, Shils continued his association with Wilson as a member of the board of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. Later, Shils and Dicks wrote a study of The Soviet Army for the Rand Corporation (Shils and Dicks 1951).
This marked the beginning of Janowitz’s career in military sociology and led to his monumental treatment of The Professional Soldier: A Social and Political Portrait (Janowitz 1960).
For the source, see Lazarsfeld (1949).
For his intellectual development during the war, see Shils (1975b: xxii–xxiv).
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Record Group 226, OSS files f. 63.
Halsey contributed an early article ‘Science and Government in Sweden’ to Minerva (Halsey 1963).
Personal Communication, Jennifer Platt to author, 21 October 2009. I am grateful to Professor Platt for showing me her copy of the list of Shils’ courses in the LSE Calendar for 1947. See also (Halsey 2004: 72).
See Istvan Hargittai, Martians of Science: Five Physicists who Changed the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), Teller, 161; Szilard, 27–28, 42–49, 71–78, 96, 138.
Hugh Trevor-Roper, Manchester Guardian Weekly, 20 June 1950; see Lasch (1969, chapter 3).
Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Shils Papers, Box 13, Series V, ‘“I’d do it again. I assure you”: The Congress for Cultural Freedom’ (nd).
It is possible that Josselson met Shils during the war, as he was working in a similar capacity, but this remains speculation.
See Giles Scott-Smith, The Politics of Apolitical Culture: The Congress for Cultural Freedom, the CIA, and Post-war American Hegemony (London: Routledge, 2003).
For an appreciation of Szilard, see Shils (1997, ch. 11).
Kingsley Martin later speculated that the CCF decided to close down the journal when it learned that Polanyi planned to hold a symposium on nuclear politics, which could have become a platform for ‘Bernalism’ (Coleman 1989: 98).
In 1961, Shils returned the compliment, editing for Polanyi’s 70th birthday in March 1961 a Festschrift that became The Logic of Personal Knowledge (Shils 1961a). This included an essay by Bertrand Jouvenel (1961) ‘The Republic of Science’, and marked the first appearance of Shils’ seminal paper on ‘Centre and Periphery’ (Shils 1961b[1970, 1975, 1982]).
Shils’ efforts contributed ultimately to the creation of the Social and Political Science Tripos that exists in Cambridge today. One of Cambridge’s first appointments in sociology, John Goldthorpe, was elected a Fellow of King’s.
Library of Congress, Oppenheimer Papers, Box 119, Shils to J. Robert Oppenheimer, 8, 14 March 1962; Oppenheimer to Shils, 14 March.
Shils Papers, Series V, Box 4, Shils-Bieber correspondence, 11–16 April, 14 May 1962.
Josselson Papers, 20.7, ‘International Relations’, The Manchester Guardian, 24 August 1962. The inaugural Board of Advisory Editors included Noel (later Lord) Annan, Sir Eric (later Lord) Ashby, Prof. S.N. Bose, FRS, Prof. C.D. Darlington FRS, Dr. K.O. Dike, Sir John Eccles, FRS, Prof. Gerald Holton, Prof. Taku Komai, Professor Thomas S. Kuhn, Prof. W. Arthur Lewis, Dr. A. Davidson Nicol, Prof. Eni Njoku, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, Prof. H. Plessner, Prof. Michael Polanyi, FRS, Prof. Eugene Rabinowitch, Prof. Abdus Salam, FRS, Prof. Cyril Smith, Prof. Bruno Snell, Sir Charles (later Lord) Snow, Dr. J. M. Ziman, FRS, and Professor Sir Solly (later Lord) Zuckerman, FRS.
Josselson Papers, 20.7, ‘Goddess Armed’, The Spectator, 16 November 1962.
Josselson Papers, 20.7. Albu (1963) cited in Hansard, Parliamentary Debates (House of Commons), 15 January 1964, col. 581.
Josselson Papers, 20.7. ‘Scientists in the New Deal’ – citing Auerbach (1965) in Nature, 25 December 1965, 1260. See also ‘Academic Neddies’, New Society, 3 February 1966; ‘Twilight of University Autonomy in Argentina’, TES, 21 October 1966; and ‘Freedom of Admissions’, TES, 9 December 1966.
Josselson Papers, 20.7. Civil Service Exam, ‘Write in your own words a continuous summary’, M. Polanyi, ‘The Growth of Science in Society’ (Polanyi 1967).
Josselson Papers, 20.7.
Josselson Papers, 20.7.
Josselson Papers, 20.7., Andrzej Biernacki, in Zagadnienia Naukoznawstwa, 1(2–3), (1965), 291–2.
Shils Papers, Series V, Box 4, Shils-Bieber correspondence, 11–16 April, 14 May 1962; Bieber to Shils, 7 July 1966. The practice of paying authors eventually declined but continued well into the 1970s. See Josselson Papers, 24.4, Shils to David Heaps, 15 March 1975; Ford Foundation Archives, David Heaps to C. Goodwin and Francis Sutton, 17 September 1976.
Marion Bieber, Memoir (London: typescript, privately circulated, 2009). I am indebted to Ms Jan Wiener for sharing this memoir with me.
Shils Papers, Series V, Box 4, Shils to Bieber (nd., ca. 20 June 1966).
Shils Papers, Series V, Box 4, Shils to Bieber, 15 June 1964.
Shils Papers, Series V, Box 4, Bieber to Shils, 7 July 1966.
Shils Papers, Series V, Box 4, Bieber to Shils, 9 November 1965.
Bieber to Shils, V, 4, 7 July 1966. Indonesia took 253 subscriptions. Shils to Bieber, 12 July 1966.
Chronicle of Higher Education, V (3), (4), (1967).
With this enquiry came suggestions that the Marshall Foundation had funds from the CIA, as had the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell.
Shils also reported an account in Pravda on 1 March, claiming that student exchanges had been exploited by the CIA since 1958, and that American academics working in India were CIA agents. Algeria, Switzerland and Tunisia suspended student and academic exchanges with the USA.
Thomas Braden, “I'm glad the CIA is ‘immoral’”, The Saturday Evening Post, 20 May 1967.
Ford Foundation Archives, Shils to Adam Watson, Director General, IACF, 19 July 1978.
Shils Papers, Series V, Box 4, Bieber to Shils, 11 October 1968. It is not known whether Survey or China Quarterly suffered similarly.
Josselson Papers, 24.4, Shils to Josselson, 2 August 1974.
Josselson Papers, 24.5, Shils to Josselson, 2 November 1973.
See the masthead on Minerva, VII, (1), (Autumn–Winter 1968).
Josselson Papers, 24.5, Shils to Josselson, 26 March 1969.
Josselson Papers, 24.5, Shils to Josselson, 31 July 1969.
Josselson Papers, 24.5, Shils to Josselson, 28 January 1975.
In the same year, as part of his expansionist program, Maddox agreed to publish Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, edited by Larry Laudan, and Science Studies (now Social Studies of Science), co-edited by David Edge and Roy MacLeod. Both journals soon moved to different publishers, and both flourish today. Roy MacLeod, ‘David Edge. In Memoriam’, Social Studies of Science, 33(2), (April 2002), 181–183.
Ford Foundation Archives, David Heaps to C. Goodwin and Francis Sutton, 17 September 1976.
He also rejected the allegation that the editors of Science Studies had somehow ‘broken away’ from Minerva; far from it, he asserted, pointing to the present author as among his ‘valued contributors’. Shils Papers, Series V, Box 8, Shils to TLS, 9 February 1971.
Josselson Papers, 24.5, Shils to Josselson, 26 September 1971.
Shils rented a Peterhouse flat for the rest of his life. He bought a flat in Chicago for his mother and his son, Adam, who received his early education in England, and who now lives in Chicago.
Personal communication, Gillian Anderson to author, 2 November 2004.
Josselson Papers, 24.4, Shils to Josselson, 8 February 1975.
Josselson Papers, 24.5, Shils to Josselson, 26 October 1971.
Josselson Papers, 24.4, Shils to Josselson, 10 February 1975.
Ford Foundation Archives, Shils to David Heaps, 11 November 1975.
For ten years, the ICFU published reports on German, Australian and Swedish universities; held conferences in Lisbon, Toronto and New York; and published a newsletter on contemporary ‘crises’ in higher education. Its funding came from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Exxon Education Foundation, the Thyssen Stiftung, the VW Stiftung, and the Gulbenkian Foundation.
Minerva was one of just three programmes that Ford took over from the IACF, the others being the Soviet studies journal Survey, and the Fondation pour une Entraide Intellectuelle Européenne. Ford Foundation Archives, David Heaps, 13 March 1978.
Ford Foundation Archives, David Bell to McGeorge Bundy, 18 January 1979. The referees included Professors Carl Kaysen (then at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton), Don Price (Harvard), Thomas Kuhn (then at the Institute for Advanced Study), Randall Collins (UCLA), and Robert Fox (Lancaster University, and then editor of the British Journal of the History of Science). Ford Foundation Archives, David E. Bell to McGeorge Bundy, 18 January 1979.
The grant came from the European and International Affairs Program of the Foundation’s International Division, whose budget that year exceeded $3.2 million. Ford Foundation Archives, David Heaps to Harold Howe and Francis Sutton, 13 March 1978.
Personal communication, Nicholas Farnham to author, 18 February 2005.
Shils Papers, Series V, Shils to Harold Orlans, 1 June 1976.
Andre Beteille, ‘Edward Shils: Social Theorist and Critic’, The Times of India, 21 February 1995.
Shils Papers, Series V, Box 4, Shils to Bieber, 2 August, 29 October 1965.
Shils Papers, Series 5, Box 4, Shils to Bieber, 10 September 1964, referring to Lipset (1964).
See Shils (1968). He included Weinberg (1963) ‘Criteria for Scientific Choice’, Carter (1963) ‘The Distribution of Scientific Effort’, Maddox (1964) ‘Choice and the Scientific Community’, Toulmin (1964) ‘The Complexity of Scientific Choice: A Stocktaking’, Weinberg (1965) ‘Scientific Choice and Biomedical Science’.
These are listed in ‘Edward Shils’ Contributions to Minerva’, Minerva, 34(1), (1996): 125–127.
Stanley Coben, ‘Foundation Officials and Fellowships: Innovation in the Patronage of Science’, Minerva, 14(2), (1976): 225–240.
Orlans Papers, Orlans to ES, 23 February 1986.
These also included accounts of academic freedom violations in Berlin and Berne, Sweden and Britain; trades unionism in American universities; the criteria of academic assessment and appointment; the Western Culture Program at Stanford; and Affirmative Action at Yale.
See Hebe M.C. Vessuri, ‘The Universities, Scientific Research and the National Interest in Latin America’, Minerva, 24(1), (1986), 1–38; Stuart Macdonald, ‘Controlling the Flow of High-Technology Information from the United States to the Soviet Union: A Labour of Sisyphus?’, 39–73; John Hayward, ‘Responses to Contraction: The University of Hull, 1979–1984’, 74–97.
Shils Papers, Series V, Box 16, Christine Schnusenberg to Prof. Paul Josephson, 18 January 1995.
Personal communication, Gillian Anderson to author, 2 November 2004.
Personal communication, Gillian Anderson to author, 2 and 11 November 2004.
Shils Papers, Series V, Box 16, Michael Shattock to Shils, 12 September 1994.
Towards the end of his life, Shils devoted many hours to writing a vast manuscript called ‘Movements of Knowledge’, which remains unpublished in his archives at the University of Chicago. At his death, he left a Fragment of a Sociological Autobiography, which was edited and published in 2006, but he awaits a definitive biography. Perhaps a start has been made by Thomas Schneider (2012).
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Bell, Daniel. 1960. The End of Ideology: On the Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the Fifties. Glencoe: Free Press. 2nd edition 1988 with an afterword, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Ben-David, Joseph, and Terry N. Clark. 1977. Culture and its Creators: Essays in Honor of Edward Shils. Chicago: University of Chicago.
Ben-David, Joseph. 1964. Scientific Growth: A Sociological View. Minerva 2(4): 455–476.
Ben-David, Joseph. 1965. The Scientific Role: The Conditions of its Establishment in Europe. Minerva 4(1): 15–54.
Ben-David, Joseph. 1968. Fundamental Research and the Universities: Some Comments on International Differences for OECD. Paris: OECD.
Ben-David, Joseph. 1971. The Scientist’s Role in Society: A Comparative Study. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
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Forman, Paul. 1974. The financial support and political alignment of physicists in Weimar Germany. Minerva 12(1): 39–66.
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Janowitz, Morris. 1960. The Professional Soldier: A Social and Political Portrait. Glencoe: Free Press.
Johnson, Harry G. 1977. The Shadow of Keynes. With an Introduction written by Edward A. Shils. Reports and Documents Section. Minerva 15(2): 201–213.
Jouvenel, Bertrand. 1961. The Republic of Science. In The Logic of Personal Knowledge. Essays Presented to Michael Polanyi on His Seventieth Birthday, 11th March 1961, ed. Edward Shils, 131–142. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
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Lasch, Christopher. 1969. The Agony of the American Left. New York: Knopf.
Laudan, Larry. 1984. Two Puzzles About Science—Reflections on some Crisis in the Philosophy and Sociology of Science. Minerva 20(3/4): 253–268.
Lazarsfeld, Paul F. 1949. The American Soldier: An Expository Review. Public Opinion Quarterly 13(3): 377–404.
Lipset, Seymour Martin. 1964. University Students and Politics in Underdeveloped Countries. Minerva 3(1): 15–56.
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Maddox, John. 1964. Choice and the Scientific Community. Minerva 2(2): 141–159.
McCarthy, Kathleen D. 1987. From Cold War to Cultural Development: The International Cultural Activities of the Ford Foundation. Daedalus 116(1): 93–117.
Merton, Robert K. 1938. Science, Technology and Society in Seventeenth Century England. Osiris 4(2): 360–632.
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Moravcsik, Michael J. 1966. Some Practical Suggestions for the Improvement of Science in Developing Countries. Minerva 4(3): 381–390.
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Nye, Mary Jo. 2011. Michael Polanyi and His Generation: The Social Construction of Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Parsons, Talcott, and Edward Shils (eds.). 1951. Toward a General Theory of Action. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
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Polanyi, Michael. 1958. Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Polanyi, Michael. 1967. The Growth of Science in Society. Minerva 5(4): 533–545.
Salam, Abdus. 1966. The Isolation of the Scientist in Developing Countries. Minerva 4(4): 461–466.
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Scott-Smith, Giles. 2002. The Congress for Cultural Freedom, the End of Ideology and the 1955 Milan Conference: ‘Defining the Parameters of Discourse’. Journal of Contemporary History 37(3): 437–455.
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Shattock, Michael. (ed.). 1996. In Memory of Edward Shils. Minerva 34(1): 1–129.
Shattock, Michael. 1995. Edward Shils. Minerva 33(1): 1–3.
Shils, Edward A. (ed.). 1961a. The Logic of Personal Knowledge. Essays Presented to Michael Polanyi on His Seventieth Birthday, 11th March 1961. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Shils, Edward A. 1938. Limitations on the Freedom of Research and Teaching in the Social Sciences. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 200: 144–164. Reprinted 1972 in The Intellectuals and the Powers and Other Essays, Edward Shils, 307–332. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Shils, Edward A. 1948a. The Atomic Bomb in World Politics. London: National Peace Council.
Shils, Edward A. 1948b. The Present State of American Sociology. New York: Free Press.
Shils, Edward A. 1950. Primary Groups in the American Army. In Continuities in Social Research: Studies in the Scope and Method of ‘The American Soldier’, eds. Robert Merton and Paul F. Lazersfeld, 19-3. New York: Glencoe. Reprinted 1975 in Center and Periphery: Essays in Macrosociology, Selected Papers of Edward Shils, vol. 2, ed. Edward Shils. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Shils, Edward A. 1951. The Study of the Primary Group. In The Policy Sciences: Recent Developments in Scope and Methods, eds. Harold D. Lasswell, and Daniel Lerner, 44–69. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.
Shils, Edward A. 1954. The Scientific Community: Thoughts after Hamburg, Science and Freedom, No. 1 (November 1954). Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 10(5): 151–155. Reprinted 1972 in The Intellectuals and the Powers, Edward Shils, 204–212. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Shils, Edward A. 1955. The Intellectuals: Great Britain. Encounter 4(4): 5–16. Reprinted 1972 in The Intellectuals and the Powers and Other Essays, ed. Edward Shils, 135–143. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Shils, Edward A. 1956a. Milan Conference. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 12(2): 38–40.
Shils, Edward A. 1956b. The Torment of Secrecy: The Background and Consequences of American Security Policies. Glencoe: The Free Press.
Shils, Edward A. 1961b[1970, 1975, 1982]. ‘Centre and Periphery’. In The Logic of Personal Knowledge. Essays Presented to Michael Polanyi on His Seventieth Birthday, 11th March 1961, ed. Edward A. Shils, 117–130. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Reprinted 1975 in Centre and Periphery: Essays in Macrosociology, Edward A. Shils, 3–15. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Reprinted 1982 in The Constitution of Society, Edward A. Shils, 93–109. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Shils, Edward A. 1961c. The Calling of Sociology. In Theories of Society, eds. Talcott Parsons, and Edward Shils, 143–148. New York: Macmillan.
Shils, Edward A. 1967. The Central Intelligence Agency and the Universities II. Chronicle Section. Minerva 5(4): 614–620.
Shils, Edward A. 1970a . Tradition, Ecology and Institution in the History of Sociology. Daedalus 99(4): 760–825. Reprinted in Edward Shils. 1980. The Calling of Sociology and Other Essays on the Pursuit of Learning, Selected Papers of Edward Shils, vol. 3, 188–191. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1980.
Shils, Edward A. 1970b. The Hole in the Centre: University Government in the United States. Minerva 8(1): 1–7.
Shils, Edward A. 1971. Of Pride and Men of Little Faith. Minerva 9(1): 1–6.
Shils, Edward A. 1972a. The Intellectuals and the Powers and Other Essays. Selected Papers of Edward Shils, vol. 1. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Shils, Edward A. 1972b. Minerva: The Past Decade and the Next. Minerva 10(1): 1–9.
Shils, Edward A. 1972c. The Invitation to Caesar. Minerva 10(4): 513–518.
Shils, Edward A. 1974. An Unresolved Dilemma. Minerva 12(3): 295–302.
Shils, Edward A. 1975. Center and Periphery: Essays in Macrosociology. Selected Papers of Edward Shils, vol. 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Shils, Edward A. 1975b. Center and Periphery: Selected Papers, vol. 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Shils, Edward A. 1975c. The Academic Ethos under Strain. Minerva 13(1): 1–37.
Shils, Edward A. 1976. A Great Citizen of the Republic of Science: Michael Polanyi, 1892–1976. Minerva 14(1): 1–5.
Shils, Edward A. 1982. The Constitution of Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Shils, Edward A. 1986. The Universality of Science. In Zeugen des Wissens, ed. Heinz Maier-Leibnitz, 819–836. Mainz: Hase und Koehler.
Shils, Edward A. 1987a. Science and Scientists in the Public Arena. American Scholar 56(2): 185–202.
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This paper draws upon my experience as Editor of Minerva between 2000 and 2008. Earlier versions have benefitted from many generous comments received at seminars I have given at the University of British Columbia, the University of Leeds, the Institute for Advanced Studies at Durham University, Oxford University, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, and the Lichtenberg-Kolleg at the University of Göttingen. For personal comment, I wish to record my thanks to Mrs. Gillian Anderson, Dr. Harold Orlans, and Professor Bruce Smith. For permission to consult the Edward Shils papers, I am grateful to his executor, Dr. Joseph Epstein. For their assistance in accessing these and related archives, I thank the staff of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas and the Special Collections Research Center of the Joseph Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago. For contextual information, I am grateful to the Archivists of the Ford Foundation and the staff of the Library of Congress. For their encouragement, my sincere thanks are also due to Professor W. Roger Louis of the University of Texas; Mr. Daniel Greenberg, of Washington, DC; Professor Nicolaas Rupke of the University of Göttingen; Professor Arie Rip of the University of Twente; Professor Everett Mendelsohn of Harvard University; and my wife, Dr. Kimberley Webber, of Sydney. For their patience and editorial help, I am indebted to Dr. Niels Taubert and Professor Peter Weingart, currently Editor of Minerva. Research on which this paper is based was assisted by a travel grant from the Earhart Foundation.
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MacLeod, R. Consensus, Civility, and Community: The Origins of Minerva and the Vision of Edward Shils. Minerva 54, 255–292 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11024-016-9305-x
- History of Minerva
- Edward Shils
- Academic freedom
- Congress for Cultural Freedom