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Theses Doctoral

The Emergence of the American University Abroad

Long, Kyle A.

This dissertation explores the relations of independent American universities abroad to one another and to American higher education through a mixed-method comparative case study of three eras (1919-1945; 1946-1990; 1991-2017). Applying insights from the study of organizations and social movements, it investigates 1) the formation, evolution, and eventual maturation of an organizational field of American universities abroad; and 2) the strategies field actors utilize to align frames about American universities abroad with values of potential supporters in the United States. The study employs both qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze data that come from archives, news media, institutional websites, interviews, and an original database. Findings have implications for study of international higher education, American higher education, and American foreign relations. I argue that over the course of a century, the American university abroad has emerged as a distinct institution and structural feature of American higher education. Episodic cooperation among various American universities abroad has served to organize the field to the extent that its “rules” eventually became institutionalized. Instances of continuity and change in the field’s rules are often the result of pressures emanating from U.S. higher education and foreign policies. Meanwhile, the field of American universities abroad, representing the frontier of American higher education, has continually enlarged the latter’s boundaries with each successive period of global expansion.

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More Information

Academic Units
Comparative and International Education
Thesis Advisors
Pizmony-Levy, Oren
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
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