The University and its Discontents
Such qualms were likely deemed tragic yet forgone facts, immaterial to theoretical production. Western modernity’s underside was presumably extraneous to Tocqueville and Locke, germane only for Fanon or Chakrabarty. Questions of global significance were probably dismissed in favor of the West’s grand narrative of self-constitution, its great myth that its so-called progress was the product of truth-discerning rationality rather than historically-specific (and undeniably limited) approaches to the world.
This is the promise of Harvard: We are an institution committed to truth, stubbornly free of influences that threaten it — the unbreakable bedrock of civil society. At our best and most courageous, we generate challenging ideas, launch incisive critiques at injustice, and call for the realization of a better and more truthful world for all of its inhabitants. In this vision, we are the city upon a hill, opening the eyes that gaze upon us and working for and alongside them. Through intrepid scholarship and bold critique, we live up to our liberatory potential, collectively expanding political possibility in a deeply aching world.