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A Roundtable on Peter Mandler’s “The Crisis of the Meritocracy”

General Programming

dateApril 6, 2021 timeTuesday, 12:30pm EDT locationVirtual Event
  • NYU Department of History
  • New York-Cambridge Training Collaboration (NYCTC)
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Columbia University Seminars
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
  • RSVP recommended. To RSVP, please email Alice Gorton at [email protected].
Cover of The Crisis of Meritocracy: Britain's Transition to Mass Education Since the Second World War by Peter Mandler

Before the Second World War, only about 20% of Britons attended secondary school, and no more than 2% got as far as higher education. Today, of course, everyone attends secondary school, and 50% go on to higher education. How did we get from there to here - from an elite, not even 'meritocratic' system to a mass-education system that prioritizes access? Peter Mandler's new book combines historical, sociological, and economic perspectives to reveal the hidden drivers of a system that we take for granted, but is in fact a recent construct.


Peter Mandler, Cambridge University

Deborah Cohen, Northwestern University

Ben Schmidt, New York University

Jonathan Zimmerman, University of Pennsylvania

Guy Ortolano, New York University

Organized by Guy Ortolano (NYU) and Susan Pedersen, Gouverneur Morris Professor of History (Heyman Fellow, 2020-2021)