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Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 1:25pm to 2:40pm
Klarman Hall, KG70
232 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14853
This event will take place as a part of the class "Controversies About Inequality" and is open to the general public.
"I see elite universities as institutional sites for cultivating elite identities and for shaping elite understandings of merit, inequality, and race. In this book I catch young adults at a time of identity development and changing perspectives, after they leave their families but before they enter the labor market. What happens to young adult’s understandings of deservingness when they have “won” the most competitive game they’ve entered so far, the college admissions process? How do they make sense of those who fail to gain admission? Their perspectives will illuminate the way many of our future leaders and decision-makers develop their notions of worthiness, hard work, and “smarts”—that is, their understandings of merit, with implications for how they see themselves, others, and justice. My assumption is that a high proportion of students attending elite universities will go on to become leaders and decision makers in society, so it is important to understand their perspectives and the mechanisms by which they develop their views. Indeed, recent scholarship has shown that elite American firms, especially in consulting, finance, and law, recruit only at the very top universities. In addition, what college a student attends affects the likelihood of actually completing college, with repercussions down the line for income. In Britain a majority or near majority of senior judges, cabinet members, diplomats, and newspaper columnists are graduates of Oxford or Cambridge, compared with less than 1 percent of the British population as a whole. Oxford and Cambridge have also historically been the gateway to the top civil service positions in Britain."