Mediocre Public Intellectuals: Edward Said and Cynthia Ozick - Essay Example

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This is an academic conversation essay giving a discussion on mediocre public intellectuals, focusing on the individuals Edward Said and Cynthia Ozick. The writer of the essay seeks to critically analyze the articles written by both intellectuals and draws parallels between them…
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Mediocre Public Intellectuals: Edward Said and Cynthia Ozick
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Download file to see previous pages It is evident that some individuals have taken advantage of academic freedom, and the fact that they are public intellectuals to manipulate the members of the public for their political gain. This is an academic conversation essay giving a discussion on mediocre public intellectuals. Edward Said reiterates that interpretation of academic freedom is based on different societies also on different curriculum taken up by universities. According to Said, there has been a group taking the position that the traditional curriculum entailing the liberal arts is under attack. While the other group, arguing that social sciences and humanities curriculum should focus its interests on people in the society who are ignored, suppressed or papered (Said 7). Academic freedom has been demonstrated in the United States’ universities through the adoption of non-Western societies in the academic fields of history, literature, film and mass communication. Unfortunately, Said maintains that academic freedom has been inhibited by controversial issues presented in seminars and lectures such as gender, race, war, slavery, and imperialism. Said, further gives an extensive detail on how academic freedom has been suppressed in the countries in the Arab-Islamic world which have been subjected to foreign education. Edward Said concludes his article by stating that academic freedom should take the model of a traveler or migrant. As a traveler or migrant individuals looking for knowledge should embrace other identities, other varieties, and other selves during the adventure (Said 23). Ozick’s article position who are the private intellectuals and who are the public intellectuals. He gives a list of intellectuals and state whether they are public or private. For instance, he starts by stating public intellectuals such as Socrates, Maimonides, Emerson, and Voltaire. However, he includes private intellectuals his articles such as Lionel Trilling and William James. Ozick refers to the author E.M Forster and takes a critical look at his works as it relates to public intellectuals. According to Ozick, Forster has an essay featuring the issue of liberty in England, and most importantly Forster attacks censorship while defending freedom of speech. A public intellectual is seen as an individual with a strong mind commitment which is channeled to have positive impacts in the whole society (Ozick 354). According to Ozick, public intellectuals are aware of the essence and impact of history in today’s world. Ozick affirms public intellectuals’ responsibility is to focus on loyalty and activism in progressing democracy. Public intellectuals strategically formulate out historic and cognitive patterns, which lead to public issues. Ozick commends Forster for his thoughtful way addressing political issues through his art. Ozick concludes by noting that public intellectuals are subject to public contemplation. The difference between public and private intellectuals is from the fact that, if private thinkers do not speak out they are viewed as cowards, however, when they speak out they are seen as bunglers (Ozick 356). The topic that I would develop from the above articles is on the issue of mediocre public intellectuals. This topic came as a result of the following situation; I recently had a political discussion with Vitali Klitschko. He currently holds the heavyweight champion, and he is now contemplating to run for a public office in Ukraine. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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