What are you reading? – 23 July 2015

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

July 23, 2015
Books on bookshelf

Gary Day, formerly principal lecturer in English, De Montfort University, is reading David Ellis’ Frank Cioffi: The Philosopher in Shirt-Sleeves (Bloomsbury, 2015). “I remember Frank Cioffi vividly. He strode about the room, shaking his head and stroking his beard as he did battle with the likes of Goffman and Freud. He was courteous, eccentric and brilliant. Ellis writes of his friend with great affection and sometimes awe. An afterword by Nicholas Bunnin puts Cioffi’s philosophy of concrete instances, never abstractions, in context.”

Kathryn Ecclestone, professor of education, University of Sheffield, is reading Lindsay Paterson’s Social Radicalism and Liberal Education (Imprint Academic, 2015). “A fascinating analysis that shows how the British liberal-Left gave up on aspirations for working-class access to liberal notions of knowledge as a means of emancipation. Instead, advocates of ‘progressive’ or ‘radical’ education replaced class history with case history and presented individual selfhood in the name of class consciousness, and cultural recognition in the name of social justice. It explains how, outside a dwindling social elite, education at all levels offers an increasingly instrumental vocational curriculum of endless ‘skills’.”

Stephen Halliday, senior member of Pembroke College, Cambridge, is reading David Macpherson’s All Lies: A Story of the Portland Spies (CreateSpace/Kindle, 2014). “An absorbing story featuring such Cold War characters as Harry Houghton, Ethel Gee, Gordon Lonsdale, “Buster” Crabb, Kim Philby and others whose names resonate, especially for those of a certain age. Skilfully woven with, one suspects, much fact and little, if any, fiction apart from the habitual lies of the cast of spies.”

Huw Morris, director of skills, higher education and lifelong learning for the Welsh government, and visiting professor at the University of Salford, is reading Robert J. Shiller’s Irrational Exuberance (Princeton University Press, 2015). “This is the recently published third edition of the Nobel prizewinning economist’s best-selling book. The first two editions spotted the dot-com and sub-prime crashes before they happened; the new edition adds a chapter on the bond market (where much of our pensions are – or, should I say, were).”

Flora Samuel, professor of architecture, University of Sheffield, is reading Radical Pedagogies: Architectural Education and the British Tradition (RIBA Publishing, 2015), edited by Daisy Froud and Harriet Harriss. “At a moment when architectural education has become unsustainably expensive and the Royal Institute of British Architects is reviewing the structure and function of its validated programmes, this edited volume offers a timely, critical and passionate reminder of why we went into this business in the first place.”

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