GREENSBORO, N.C. — Dr. Allison L. Palmadessa, assistant professor of history and coordinator of social studies licensure at Greensboro College, has written a new book examining higher education and its influence on American cultural identity. The book, “American National Identity, Policy Paradigms, and Higher Education: A History of the Relationship Between Higher Education and the United States, 1862-2015,” was published by Palgrave Macmillan.
Dr. Allison Palmadessa
“This book takes the study of higher education in bold new directions,” David F. Ayers, associate professor of community college leadership at Old Dominion University, says of Palmadessa’s book. “This theoretically rigorous and empirically grounded study offers a pioneering account of higher education and American national identity. It situates higher education within complex historical, cultural, and policy contexts, problematizes contemporary policy assumptions, and raises critical questions about the future of higher education.”
The book sheds light on how higher education produced and reproduced American cultural identity from 1862 to 2015 and considers whether changes in federal policy regarding higher education result in paradigm shifts that directly impact the purpose of higher education. American institutions of higher education have served as a beacon of American idealism and identity since the foundation of the earliest universities, Palmadessa argues. As the nation developed, higher education matured and maintained a position of importance in the future of the nation. She also maintains that while the university has perpetuated American national cultural identity, the nation-state has resourced and legitimated the university, inextricably linking national identity and higher education. Through her analysis, the relationship between national identity, federal legislation, and higher education is established, and an identity of superiority, defined in economic terms, reinforced by higher education, is revealed.
Dr. Palmadessa is a 2003 alumna of Greensboro College.
Founded in 1838 and located in downtown Greensboro, the college enrolls about 1,000 students from 29 states and territories, the District of Columbia, and seven foreign countries in its undergraduate liberal-arts program and four master’s degree programs. In addition to rigorous academics and a well-supported Honors program, the school features an 18-sport NCAA Division III athletic program and dozens of service and recreational opportunities.