Higher Education and Theory Reading Group

Higher Education & Theory Reading Group (University of Westminster)

Organizing Meeting

Date/Time: Wednesday October 2, 2013 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Campus: Regent Street (309 Regent Street)

Room: RS 359

The Higher Education Research Centre (HERC) is pleased to announce the setting up of a Reading Group focusing on higher education and theory. This is a cross-faculty reading group on the theory of education, open to all staff and research students at the University of Westminster. The reading group supports and supplements HERC’s general focus on pedagogical research, with particular relevance to its research interests in critical reflection, transdisciplinary knowledge, and the integration of practice and theory.

The intention is to foster an increased awareness of the contributions of major critical thinkers to pedagogic debate and practice, supplementing the sociological, psychological, and empirical focus of current educational discourse with a broader transdisciplinary emphasis on the importance of philosophical and historical contributions to educational theory. The idea is that a productive critical perspective will be opened up on contemporary pedagogical practice through such theoretical and historical viewpoints, one that will also allow researchers to make connections between their research and their own practice as teachers by re-reading theoretical texts pedagogically.

There will be a minimum of 3 reading groups per year. The group will initially meet once a term, with the possibility of meeting more frequently if time and interest permit. Our initial organizing meeting will take place at 1pm on Wednesday 2nd October in Room 359, 309 Regent Street and  the first reading group will be held in November (date and venue to be agreed in the organizing meeting).

Our starting text for the autumn term will be Jean-Francois Lyotard’s ‘The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge’ (1979, translated 1984)[i]. Future texts will be decided by the group. Lyotard’s essay is most notorious today for inaugurating the often derided predominance of “postmodernism” within the humanities and social sciences, yet Lyotard’s prognosis for higher education has become increasingly relevant for British universities as they engage with the digital knowledge economy. How might a critical reconsideration of Lyotard’s essay in light of our current educational conditions reveal new possibilities for pedagogical theory and practice?

The hope is that the Higher Education and Theory group will stimulate new conversations and connections across the university, encouraging pedagogical reflection but also fostering further research and writing.

[i] First 5 chapters of the Lyotard text online here: http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/fr/lyotard.htm. The full scanned version is here: http://www.futuroscopio.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Lyotard-the_postmodern_condition_a.pdf  Pages 47-53 in particular look at higher education.

See also the HERC Community webpages: https://hercwestminster.wordpress.com/

To RSVP or register your interest, please email: Steven Cranfield, cranfis(at)westminster.ac.uk or Matthew Charles, M.Charles1(at)westminster.ac.uk



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