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The Village on the Plain, The Village on the Plain, 0817319093, 0-8173-1909-3, 978-0-8173-1909-0, 9780817319090, , , The Village on the Plain, 081738975X, 0-8173-8975-X, 978-0-8173-8975-8, 9780817389758,

The Village on the Plain
Auburn University, 1856–2006
by Dwayne Cox

Trade Cloth
2016. 352 pp.
978-0-8173-1909-0
Price:  $39.95 s
E Book
2016. 352 pp.
978-0-8173-8975-8
Price:  $39.95 d

Long overdue for an institutional history, Auburn University possesses a rich and storied past. Dwayne Cox’s The Village on the Plain traces the school’s history in authoritative detail from its origins as a private college through its emergence as a complex land-grant university.
 
Originally founded prior to the Civil War with an emphasis on classical education, Auburn became the state’s land-grant college after the cessation of hostilities. This infused the school with a vision of the South as a commercial and industrial rival to the North. By the 1880s, instruction in applied science had become Auburn’s curricular version of this “New South” creed. Like most southern universities, Auburn never enjoyed financial abundance, creating scarcity that intensified internal debate over whether liberal arts or applied disciplines deserved more of the school’s limited resources.
 
Meager state funding for higher education complicated Auburn’s rise and became a source of competition with the University of Alabama. This rivalry was perhaps most intense between 1908 and 1948, when the two schools did not meet on the gridiron, but blocked and tackled one another in the legislature over the division of state funds.
                                                                                                                                                                    
Like many universities founded in somewhat isolated locations during the antebellum period, Auburn developed an insular culture, which hindered the school’s progress in issues related to race. Cox traces how this insularity also found expression in the school’s resistance to outside academic regulatory organizations as well as in conflicts over the university’s governance.
 
Auburn University’s history is that of a small private college that transformed itself in the face of sweeping national events and state politics, not only to survive threats but to emerge more complex and resilient. Offering much to students of higher education and Alabama history, as well as readers affiliated with Auburn University, The Village on the Plain tells the story of this complex and fascinating institution.
 

Dwayne Cox holds a PhD in history from the University of Kentucky and serves as Head of Special Collections and Archives at Auburn University.

"In The Village on the Plain: Auburn University, 1856–2006, Dwayne Cox does a masterful job of documenting Auburn University's history from its humble beginnings to its becoming the largest land-grant institution in Alabama. [ . . . ] The book's twelve compelling chapters are written in an alluring, conversational tone that guides readers through several complex topics and themes. Cox skillfully analyzes and interweaves Auburn University's history, Alabama history and southern history in general."
The Journal of Southern History

“Dwayne Cox’s The Village on the Plain provides a model of higher education history. He has connected Auburn’s past and present to tell a lively story that balances achievements and controversies. Most exciting is that he connects its institutional history to the South’s distinctive local, regional, and state history. Cox connects his original archival research and documents to major themes and secondary sources making Auburn University integral to the heritage of American higher education. His timing is perfect, with nationwide celebration of the land-grant legacy.”
—John R. Thelin, author of Games Colleges Play: Scandal and Reform in Intercollegiate Athletics and A History of American Higher Education

“Cox's history of Auburn University now ranks among the best histories southern institutions of higher learning founded before 1860, and none had more evil spirits to exorcise. It is meticulously fair, thorough, well analyzed, and engagingly written.”
—Wayne Flynt, author of Alabama in the Twentieth Century, Poor but Proud, and Southern Religion and Christian Diversity in the Twentieth Century

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