The ‘post-historical’ university

Michael A. Peters
Vol 18, Number 2, p.178
I want to take a more expansive view and attempt to relate the challenges facing universities in Aotearoa/New Zealand to a wider set of historical and philosophical issues. Taking my lead from Bill Readings I shall argue that three ideas of the university dominate the modem era: the Kantian idea of reason; the Humboldtian idea of culture, and; the technobureaucratic idea of excellence. The idea of the modem university, historically speaking, is to be identified with a set of founding discourses initiated by Kant, the Humboldt brothers, John Newman and others. While the University of Excellence is still modern in the sense that it is both regulated and unified through the force of a single idea, nevertheless, it significantly breaks with the set of founding historical discourses of the university.