Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Michael Berube  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Born: New York

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Taught at the University of Illinois

Biographical and Professional Information

Michael Berube teaches American literature, cultural studies, and disability studies at Penn State University.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Marginal Forces/Cultural Centers: Tolson, Pynchon, and the Politics of the Canon
ISBN: 0801499216

Cornell Univ Pr. 1992

Public Access: Literary Theory and American Cultural Politics (Haymarket Series)
ISBN: 0860916782

Verso. 1994

In the years of the Reagan–Bush era, the controversy over ‘political correctness’ erupted on American campuses, spreading to the mainstream media as right-wing pundits like Dinesh D’Souza and Roger Kimball prosecuted their publicity campaign against progressive academics. Michael Bérubé’s brilliant new book explains how and why the political correctness furore emerged, and how the right’s apparent stranglehold on popular opinion about the academy can be loosened.

Traversing the terrain of contemporary cultural criticism, Bérubé examines the state of cultural studies, the significance of postmodernism, the continuing debate over multicultural curricula, and the recent revisions of literary history in American studies. Also included is Bérubé’s witty and self-deprecating autobiographical reflection on why interpretive theory has emerged as an indispensable part of education in the humanities over the past decade

Public Access insists that academics must exercise more responsibility towards the publics who underwrite but often misunderstand their work and its significance. Taken seriously as a potential audience, Bérubé argues, such publics can be weaned from their present inclination to believe the distortions and half-truths peddled by the right’s ideologues. The goal of such ‘public access’ criticism is not just a better environment for teachers and scholars, but a world in which education itself achieves its proper place in a society committed to equality of opportunity and true critical thinking.

Life As We Know It: A Father, a Family, and an Exceptional Child
ISBN: 0679758666

Vintage. 1998

When Jamie Brub was born with Down syndrome in 1991, he was immediately subject to the

medical procedures, insurance guidelines, policies, and representations that surround every child our society

designates as disabled.

In this wrenching yet ultimately inspiring book, Jamie's father, literary scholar Michael

Brub, describes not only the challenges of raising his son but the challenge of seeing him as a person

rather than as a medical, genetic, or social problem.

Employment of English: Theory, Jobs, and the Future of Literary Studies (Cultural Front)
ISBN: 0814713017

NYU Press. 1997

What sorts of cultural criticism are teachers and scholars to produce, and how can that criticism be "employed" in the culture at large?

In recent years, debates about the role and direction of English departments have mushroomed into a broader controversy over the public legitimacy of literary criticism. At first glance this might seem odd: few taxpayers and legislators care whether the nation's English professors are doing justice to the project of identifying the beautiful and the sublime. But in the context of the legitimation crisis in American higher education, the image of English departments has in fact played a major role in determining public attitudes toward colleges and college faculty. Similarly, the changing economic conditions of universities have prompted many English professors to rethink their relations to their "clients," asking how literary study can serve the American public.

What sorts of cultural criticism are teachers and scholars to produce, and how can that criticism be "employed" in the culture at large? In The Employment of English, Michael Berube, one of our most eloquent and gifted critics, examines the cultural legitimacy of literary study. In witty, engaging prose, Berube asserts that we must situate these questions in a context in which nearly half of all college professors are part-time labor and in which English departments are torn between their traditional mission of defining movements of literary history and protocols of textual interpretation, and their newer tasks of interrogating wider systems of signification under rubrics like "gender," "hegemony," "rhetoric," "textuality" (including film and video), and "culture."

Are these new roles a betrayal of the field's founding principles, in effect a short-sighted sell-out of the discipline? Do they represent little more that an attempt to shore up the status ofand student enrollments inEnglish? Or are they legitimate objects of literary study, in need of public support? Simultaneously investigating the economic and the intellectual ramifications of current debates, The Employment of English provides the clearest and most condensed account of this controversy to date.

Rhetorical Occasions: Essays on Humans and the Humanities
ISBN: 0807857777

The University of North Carolina Press. 2006

A nationally known scholar, essayist, and public advocate for the humanities, Michael Berube has a rapier wit and a singular talent for parsing complex philosophical, theoretical, and political questions. Rhetorical Occasions collects twenty-four of his major essays and reviews, plus a sampling of entries on literary theory and contemporary culture from his award-winning weblog.

Selected to showcase the range of public writing available to scholars, the essays are grouped into five topical sections: the Sokal hoax and its effects on the humanities

cosmopolitanism, American studies, and cultural studies

daily academic life inside and outside the classroom

the events of September 11, 2001, and their political aftermath

and the potential discursive and tonal range of academic blog writing. In lively and entertaining prose, Berube offers a wide array of interventions into matters academic and nonacademic. By example and illustration, he reminds readers that the humanities remain central to our understanding of what it means to be human.

What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?: Classroom Politics and "Bias" in Higher Education
ISBN: 0393330702

W. W. Norton & Company. 2007

"A sensitive, sensible, and compelling account of American education at its best."―Philadelphia Inquirer

Described as one of the "101 Most Dangerous Academics in America" by right-wing critic David Horowitz, Michael Bérubé has become a leading liberal voice in the ongoing culture wars. This "smooth and swift read" (New Criterion) offers a definitive rebuttal of conservative activists' most incendiary claims about American universities, and in the process makes a supple case for liberalism itself. An important polemic as well as "a clear-eyed, occasionally quite humorous account of the joys and frustrations of running a college classroom" (New York Observer), this book is required reading for anyone concerned about the political climate on and off campus.

The Left at War (Cultural Front)
ISBN: 0814799841

NYU Press. 2009

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 and Bush’s belligerent response fractured the American left—partly by putting pressure on little-noticed fissures that had appeared a decade earlier.

In a masterful survey of the post-9/11 landscape, renowned scholar Michael Bérubé revisits and reinterprets the major intellectual debates and key players of the last two decades, covering the terrain of left debates in the United States over foreign policy from the Balkans to 9/11 to Iraq, and over domestic policy from the culture wars of the 1990s to the question of what (if anything) is the matter with Kansas.

The Left at War brings the history of cultural studies to bear on the present crisis—a history now trivialized to the point at which few left intellectuals have any sense that merely "cultural" studies could have something substantial to offer to the world of international relations, debates over sovereignty and humanitarian intervention, matters of war and peace. The surprising results of Bérubé’s arguments reveal an American left that is overly fond of a form of "countercultural" politics in which popular success is understood as a sign of political failure and political marginality is understood as a sign of moral virtue. The Left at War insists that, in contrast to American countercultural traditions, the geopolitical history of cultural studies has much to teach us about internationalism—for "in order to think globally, we need to think culturally, and in order to understand cultural conflict, we need to think globally." At a time when America finds itself at a critical crossroads, The Left at War is an indispensable guide to the divisions that have created a left at war with itself.


Awards

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