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On Thursday 23 August 2018, JIAS, the Ali Mazrui Centre for Higher Education Studies at UJ, and the Wits City Institute hosted a seminar on ‘Cities and Contemporary Higher Education: A Historical Perspective’, led by Prof Steven J Diner of Rutgers University-Newark in the United States.

Steven J Diner is a Professor of History, former Chancellor, and former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-Newark.

About the seminar

Since the end of World War II, the vast majority of American college students have attended institutions located in cities and metropolitan areas. However, this represented a radical challenge to college leaders’ traditional negative view of cities in general, and their belief that cities were ill-suited locations in which to educate young men and women.

In this lecture, Prof Diner examined how the long history of collegiate anti-urbanism and the recent embrace of colleges in cities have shaped America’s extensive contemporary higher education system. He concluded that, despite higher education’s long ambivalence about cities, colleges in cities have profoundly shaped contemporary higher education.

While he focused on higher education in the United States, this perspective contains clear parallels to higher education in South Africa, which was explored in the course of the seminar.

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