In Sebastian Faulks’ novel Engleby, a significant scene occurs early on, during a university interview. Faulks’ protagonist, the titular character, is the interview candidate. Engleby is a prospective student of literature; a discerning one, to his own mind. And in the course of things, he is asked to make a comparison between the writing of T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence. Engleby, an abrasive, arrogant young man, does not believe there is much to compare. Continue reading
Tag Archives: University
A University Leaves Budapest
After legal and political drama seemingly spanning years, a final move has been made in Hungry, as the Central European University (CEU) prepares to leave the country.
The university has been under threat for a while, actively targeted by the government of Viktor Orban, including the recent passage of a law designed to make the operation of foreign-run universities a more bureaucratically challenging enterprise. Continue reading
Review – The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
The state of the youth in America is hardly a new preoccupation, and as long as we have seen the future, some have predicted chaos and doom following on the heels of the next generation. Continue reading
Jordan Peterson’s Mechanistic Universe
In a very brief time, Jordan Peterson has become almost ubiquitous. The professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, now on leave in order to tour the world, has been cultivating a growing following on social media and YouTube for years. But 2018 is his moment. Continue reading
Hot Water and Higher Education
There’s meant to be something somewhat seedy about the profit motive. Perhaps this is why, in the case of education, many of us recoil in horror as soon as the prospect is introduced. This is an irrational response, but it’s not entirely unreasonable. Education is something which makes politicians misty-eyed. It makes their voices quaver. Our leaders describe with great emotion the need for the next generation to do better, to have more, to go without less. Continue reading
How to Become Interesting at Short Notice
If you, like me, are about to start at a university this month – and what a university – you will probably be thinking about a few things.
Worrying is probably more accurate – seriously fretting, becoming afeared. Continue reading
Scientific Revolution and ‘the Two Cultures’
Last week, for a bit of light reading, I found myself taking a look at The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution by C. P. Snow, in which the author – who, as both a writer and a scientist, saw himself as a member of the two great tribes of academic life – criticised the arbitrary and seemingly hostile separation between the sciences and the arts, and the increasing specialisation of individuals who devoted their attention to one, but who seemingly never studied both. Continue reading
Too Quick on the Trigger
I do not begrudge you the ability to precede anything you write, say or do with a warning. That is your right, and I would not want to take it away from you even if I could.
But there is, of course, a disparity of some magnitude between prefacing your own words with a cautionary notice – in this case a ‘trigger warning’, a practice which has gained some campaigning traction of late, especially in higher education – and demanding that others do the same. And there is an even greater gulf between doing so in a private capacity and wishing for universities and other public bodies to institute similar arrangements as a matter of policy. Such measures, especially when some advocates start to argue for their establishment out of civilised necessity, begin to resemble censorship on the sly. While it does not ostensibly interfere with the individual’s freedom of speech – a vital and inalienable right as that is – attaching warnings to undesirable material, those writings and works which contain unwanted aspects, could lead to the driving away of potential readers or viewers. Forcibly impeding the free dissemination of ideas is still censorious, even if the hat worn while doing so is one of kindness and concern. Continue reading