What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

August 5, 2010

Sarah Amsler, lecturer in sociology, Aston University, is reading Handbook of Public Pedagogy: Education and Learning Beyond Schooling (Routledge, 2010), edited by Jennifer A. Sandlin, Brian D. Schultz and Jake Burdick. "A sweeping collection of work on cultural learning in schools, politics, popular culture and social movements. Mapping the emerging field of public pedagogy from its interdisciplinary roots, it opens up imaginaries of education that extend beyond formal schooling. A timely and important reminder of the necessity of progressive education."

Willy Maley, professor of Renaissance studies, University of Glasgow, is reading Claire Nally's Envisioning Ireland: W.B. Yeats's Occult Nationalism (Peter Lang, 2010). "The ignored life is often bound up with the afterlife. Jacques Derrida spoke of histories 'occulted by hegemonic canons', and Toni Morrison described the supernatural as the 'discredited knowledge' of oppressed communities. Nally excavates, in fascinating detail, the politics of the Irish encounter with otherworldliness, where nationalism and supernaturalism, enchantment and disenchantment are kindred spirits and strange bedfellows."

Jon Nixon, honorary professor in the School of Education, University of Sheffield, is reading Fred Inglis' A Short History of Celebrity (Princeton University Press, 2010). "In this big-hearted and generous-minded book, Inglis presents a 300-year history of celebrity as a moral pageant revealing the folly and fragility of human aspiration. Implicit in the bathos and slapstick of celebrity culture, argues Inglis, is the impulse towards something very different: the celebration of life well lived and lived to the full.'

Mark Ogden, senior tutor, St John's College, and director, Centre for Foreign Language Study, Durham University, is reading Nicholas Boyle's 2014: How to Survive the Next World Crisis (Continuum, May 2010). "God telling Bush to invade Iraq? Economists telling us the worst is almost over? If you baulk at such thoughts, read this book. Employing a trenchant and powerful combination of insights from philosophy, history and political/social/economic analysis already familiar from his earlier book Who Are We Now?, Boyle rigorously guides us towards understanding the deeper causes - and possible ways out - of our global crisis."

Robert A. Segal, Sixth century chair in religious studies, University of Aberdeen, is reading Robin Horton's Patterns of Thought in Africa and the West (Cambridge University Press, 1993). "An eminent English anthropologist who has lived his adult life in Nigeria, Horton had the enviable dual training in social science and philosophy that is not uncommon in the UK but that is rare in the US. He puts the religious explanation of 'primitive' peoples on a par intellectually with the scientific explanation of moderns, and in seeing the difference between religion and science in terms of a closed versus an open society rather than in terms of personalistic versus impersonal causes."

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