The publication of E. D. Hirsch's Cultural Literacy and Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind in 1987 represented an exceptional moment, an opportunity for disciplinary and institutional reflection about the role and function of English studies, rhetoric and composition, the humanities and the academy writ large. The crucial moment demanded not only that we consider the merits of a variety of curricular ideals but also that we question the assumptions driving higher education in the United States. In Symposium: Revisiting the Work of Allan Bloom and E. D. Hirsch Jr., four articles and a response by Hirsch make an opportunity for self-reflection: if we can agree that a liberal education should be a liberating one, what do we mean by liberation and what sorts of people might that particular vision of freedom produce?

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