Historically, students have been a riotous bunch. Long before wild spring breaks, medieval students waged battles with bows and arrows at the earliest universities, while Russian students made assassination attempts against the tsars. The legacy of campus unrest continues at the cusp of the 21st century with a new wave of student rebellion at home and abroad.
Student Resistance is an international history of student activism. Chronicling 500 years of strife between activists and the academy, Mark Edelman Boren unearths the defiant roots of the ivory tower. Whether through nonviolent protest or bloody insurrection, students have catalyzed educational reform, transformed national politics, and, in more than a few instances, spurred coup d'états. These acts of rebellion are inherent features in the advancement of knowledge, Boren argues, and there is much to learn from students fighting for reform. Drawing on major incidents of student activism, including Civil Rights protests in the US, the 1968 student riots in Paris, and Tiananmen Square, Boren shows that student resistance is a continually occurring and vital social phenomenon, world-wide. For those concerned with the increasingly public and complex role that universities play in society, Student Resistance is essential reading.
Antiwar protests by students during the Vietnam War are the ones best remembered by Americans, but as Boren (English, Univ. of North Carolina) demonstrates, students have been confronting governments, society, and their own universities for as long as institutions of higher education have existed. Boren places student rebellions in historical and global context by describing all known uprisings from every continent, beginning in the Middle Ages and continuing to the present. The strength of the book is also its weakness: depth is sacrificed for inclusion. Consequently, the book tends to read like a series of encyclopedia entries. Uprisings described in some detail the anti-Vietnam War protests and the student revolts in Mexico and France during the 1960s receive thorough treatment in other books. The author concludes that student revolts, which have become largely dormant at American universities while remaining prominent throughout the rest of the world, will continue to flare when political and cultural changes roil society. Recommended for larger public and academic collections as an overview that may lead the reader to more substantial investigations. Caution: avoid the overpriced hardcover edition and send the paperback to the bindery. Recommended for larger pubic and academic collections. Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Township Lib., King of Prussia, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.