From the Ivory Tower
This book tells the story of Ghent University and its societal impact, from its foundation in 1817 to the present day. From the very beginning, the university was closely involved in major social issues through its professors, students and former students, who sometimes played a leading role. In eleven thematic chapters ranging from pluralism and democratisation to gender and sexuality, the environment and biotechnology, historian Gita Deneckere outlines two hundred years of history. Each chapter ends with a point of contention for the future. In addition to archival and other sources, the author also obtained information from interviews with privileged witnesses. Their personal stories combine with the 'big history' to provide a monumental synthesis. The author does not avoid controversy. She makes clear why the university is important, for everyone. This jubilee book is thus an example of how scholarship and societal engagement go hand in hand under the motto 'Dare to Think'. This book is a must for all those who are involved with UGent or who want to get to know the university better. And for those who are interested in the role of the university today.
Gita Deneckere (b. 1964) is dean of the faculty of Arts & Philosophy and full professor at the History Department of Ghent University. She is a member of the board of directors and promoter of UGentMemorie, Ghent University's virtual memory. Deneckere is known as a committed historian who combines scholarly depth with an imaginative, narrative style of writing.