Carina Buckley, learning skills tutor, Southampton Solent University, is reading Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book (Sort of Books, 2003). “Resolutely unsentimental, Jansson uses Sophia and her grandmother’s summer adventures to explore loss and grief. From the cat who won’t be loved to the storm that Sophia and God caused, the absences of Sophia’s mother and her grandmother’s independence are sensitively handled but never allowed to steal centre stage from the rugged beauty and endless possibilities of the island.”
Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder professor of geography, University of Oxford, is reading Carl Lee’s Everything is Connected to Everything Else: 101 Stories About 21st Century Geography (Fou Fou, 2015). “The most beautiful book I have read in many years. Designed by Sheffield’s renowned Human Studio, it illustrates what modern geography reveals about the world. No other contemporary academic work can match its lucidity and clarity. Finding a hard copy of the limited edition can be a challenge, but it is all available online, for free, animated and magical.
David Hardiman, emeritus professor of history, University of Warwick, is reading Mary King’s Gandhian Nonviolent Struggle and Untouchability in South India: The 1924-25 Vykom Satyagraha and the Mechanisms of Change (Oxford University Press, 2015). “A veteran of the US civil rights movement and a leading writer on non-violent struggle provides a critical perspective on a campaign for the civil rights of Dalits – the ‘untouchables’ – that Gandhi became associated with. Applying lessons learned in the US, King identifies drawbacks to Gandhi’s guidance of this movement – issues that haunt the fight for Dalit rights to this day.”
R. C. Richardson, emeritus professor of history, University of Winchester, is re-reading Ralph Waldo Emerson’s English Traits (Routledge, 1856). “Drawn to England, like other Americans at this time, in part by the arresting novelty of the first Industrial Revolution, Emerson offers a stock-taking of England’s national character and prosperity, institutions and writers, and it makes for absorbing reading even today. Full of admiration for what he saw, he was also embarrassed by the blinkered national pride and shallowness of thinking that he found so much in evidence.”
Vernon Trafford, emeritus professor of education, Anglia Ruskin University, is reading Yusef Waghid’s Dancing with Doctoral Encounters: Democratic Education in Motion (Sun Press, 2015). “Supervisor and candidate doctoral encounters may be lucid, well-timed, crisp, rambling or dazzling. Waghid interprets his own supervisory encounters as a dance involving movements by each person in their respective intellectual positions. Drawing on democratic understandings of education, and applying Richard Rorty’s pragmatism and Jürgen Habermas’ communicative rationality, Waghid explains supervisor-candidate relationships from a new perspective.”