Tag Archives: education

What Stalin can teach us about raising refugee children

Stalin’s Ninos presents in fascinating detail how the Soviet Union raised and educated nearly 3,000 child refugees of the Spanish Civil War. In this post, author Karl D. Qualls discusses the research that went into the project, revealing the Soviet transformation of children into future builders of communism and highlighting the educational techniques shared with other modern states.


Calisthenics at One of the Spanish Children´s Homes in the USSR

By Karl D. Qualls

As I talk to friends and students about children put in cages in the United States and schools bombed in Syria, I remind them that even Stalin treated some (though not all) refugees with great humanity. I’m not trying to whitewash Stalin. I know very well the atrocities. However, research serendipity can lead to some remarkable revelations.

I came across the material for Stalin’s Niños in 1995 (!) when I was doing pre-dissertation work. I was confused as to why there would be boxes of materials in a Moscow archive about boarding schools for Spanish children. Each time I went back to Moscow over the next decade to finish my dissertation that became From Ruins to Reconstruction: Urban Identity in Soviet Sevastopol after World War II (Cornell, 2009) I checked to see if anyone had been working in the main fond in the State Archive of the Russian Federation. I didn’t know anything about the topic and thought I might be able to find a story to tell out of the 2,500 item groups. My two children were learning Spanish in school and refugees started becoming more frequent in the news after I began my research around 2010, so it seemed like something timely to do. I don’t like rehashing well-worn historical events – a legacy of my time studying with Richard Stites; I prefer new stories, and there was nothing in English on the topic and only a handful of oral histories in Spanish.

Spanish Pioneers with the Puño Salute at the Artek Pioneer Camp

With my curiosity piqued, I sought to understand why the USSR accepted nearly 3,000 refugee children from the Spanish Civil War. Refugees typically trek to contiguous countries hoping to soon return to their homeland. Refugees also are typically neglected by their “host” countries, as was the case in Britain and France for the niños. In the Soviet Union, however, the children arrived in sea-side resorts like Artek, were housed in deluxe hotels, and eventually studied in well-appointed boarding schools that far exceeded the conditions of their Soviet counterparts.

As I read through the oral histories that began to be collected about fifty years after the dislocation, I was amazed at the glowing terms with which most of the Spaniards described their time in the USSR. “It was like paradise,” said one child, “after living in hell.” Phrases like this forced me to consider why this was, especially because the Spanish children had to live through the horrors of WWII and the Nazi invasion. As engaging as the memories of the children are, they could not tell me anything about Soviet intentions and they are almost silent on educational practices. This shouldn’t surprise us; our memories tend to recall moments of joy and sadness and rarely the prosaic and banal pedagogical strategies employed by a geography teacher. I therefore moved from the conclusions of other scholars’ oral histories to investigate the causation for those memories.

Embassy of Vietnam (formerly Home No. 7)

As I read in the nearly untouched archival files, it eventually became clear. The Soviet system of “non-Russian” education in which children learn Russian as a second language and their subjects in the native tongue, when applied to the niños, created a hybrid identification I call Hispano-Soviet. The niños’ national cultural values – their Hispanidad – of language, song, dance, and more blended with Soviet values of comradery, hard work, patriotism (for two homelands now), friendship of peoples, and much more. In short, the boarding schools for Spanish children fostered the “national in form, Soviet in content” that was typical for the era.

When we examine the educational practices in the schools, we find a blend of uniquely Soviet approaches like the “non-Russian” education above with the more widely modern educational practices common in democracies and dictatorships of disciplining bodies and minds while instilling patriotism in young minds. Most of these primarily poor working-class kids, particularly the girls, would have had little to no access to education in Franco’s Spain. Soviet boarding schools taught them how to stand in line, wash hands and linens, and respect people in positions of authority. Time discipline came in the form of thoroughly scheduled days that moved students through study, meals, and leisure. The most important part of disciplining bodies was the regular health care that took pains to inoculate, provide adequate diets, and to control epidemics.

Patriotism, in this case patriotism for two countries, took place primarily but not exclusively in the classroom. History, geography, and politics courses taught about the Soviet and Spanish experiences. But even in the sciences students would study flora and fauna and natural resources of the Soviet Union that was then used to explain the country’s abundance. Frequent visitors to the children’s homes – including artists, military officers, and heroes like aviator Valery Chkalov – spoke with the children about how the regime’s investment in them had allowed them to do great things for others. Role modeling like this became a seminal tool for remolding the Spanish children and youth much as it was for Soviet students more generally.

Soviet Officer Visits with Spanish Children and Youth

Even during the 1941 arduous evacuation deep into the Soviet interior to avoid the Nazi advance, Soviet educators did all they could to maintain proper schooling. With teachers mobilized to the front, educational materials in short supply, ink freezing in the Siberian cold, and local officials reluctant to provide food and shelter, the niños’ lives took a turn for the worse. Many had to resort to theft to survive. Three remember finding their blind camel dead in the snow and finally having meat in their diet. Adolescents left the boarding schools to take jobs in factories, and many tried to enlist in the Red Army to fight the fascists, seeing WWII as a continuation of the Spanish Civil War. As the war came to a conclusion and they returned to homes outside Moscow, the youngest of the original refugees again felt the largess of the regime with well-appointed schools and regular outings to the zoo, museums, the Bolshoi, parks, and more. Unlike their older peers who went into factories during the war, these younger Spaniards increasingly entered higher education and became professionals, some assisting Fidel Castro in rebuilding Cuba, others becoming prize winning Soviet artists and athletes.

Those who chose to return to Spain as relations normalized in the mid-1950s found that their Sovietness was at least as important as their Hispanidad. Women in particular realized that in this case western Europe was backward because Francoist misogyny prevented them from using their professional training. Many highly trained men also became laborers instead of leading the professional lives they had in the USSR. The obscurantism of the Catholic church and its support for Franco’s abuses led many of these former refugees to return to their “second homeland,” the Soviet Union.

There was a long journey to completing this research. I had to teach myself a new language (Spanish), retrain from an urban historian to an historian of education, childhood, and nationality policy. My knowledge of the Spanish Civil War was spotty, so I had a lot of catching up to do there as well. I thought these sacrifices were worth it because I had so much archival material that was begging to be interpreted by someone.

Stalin’s Niños came about completely by accident, but it complicates our notions of Soviet educational policy, national identification and nationality policy, and commitment to internationalism. Equally importantly, it places the oral histories and handful of memoirs into a historical context, moving beyond aging memories to explore Soviet intentions and practices, successes and failures.

Quite surprisingly, Stalin’s Niños can teach us how to treat refugees, and especially refugee children, more humanely. “Relief” organizations are only now beginning to understand that refugees need to have their dignity as human beings affirmed and restored. This comes from education and meaningful work. Warehousing refugees in camps and children in cages dehumanizes them. The Spaniards’ overwhelming, although not exclusive, praise for their Soviet upbringing reminds us that refugees can become friends, allies, and essential contributors if only given the opportunity.


Karl D. Qualls is the John B. Parsons Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of History at Dickinson College.

 

What Students Deserve in a Textbook

With the recent release of Through the Lens of Cultural Anthropology, we asked author Laura Tubelle de González to talk about her new textbook, and her hopes for its use in the classroom. Here, González discusses what inspired her, why she includes her own personal experiences, and how her strategic use of language and graphics will allow students to easily place themselves within the book.


Excerpt from Chapter 8: Gender and Sexuality in Through the Lens of Cultural Anthropology.

When my daughter, Maya, was very little, I made sure to provide her with all kinds of toys, including those “meant” for boys, like cars, excavation kits, robots, and other toys from the blue aisle. I didn’t want to confine her imagination to those things that North American society deemed appropriate only for girls. One day, I came into her room, and she was playing with a set of little Hot Wheels cars. I gave myself an imaginary pat on the back, feeling smug that she had chosen the cars over her dolls for playtime. Wanting to know more, I asked, “I see you’re playing with your cars. What are you playing?” Expecting to hear something typical for car play, like “car chase” or “car crash,” I was flabbergasted when she replied, “well, this is the daddy car, this is the mama car, and these are the baby cars.” I realized then that there are aspects of gender that are unquestionably intrinsic to each individual. Maya was who she was, no matter what toys I offered her.

My lower division cultural anthropology courses are full of personal examples, like this one about Maya’s Hot Wheels cars and expectations of gender. I can’t resist telling stories about my first night of fieldwork in Oaxaca when I was served fried grasshoppers, or how deliberating whether or not to buy the most popular (pooping!) baby doll as a holiday gift illustrates the market economy. There are so many ways in which life as a teacher, family member, community member, and citizen highlights anthropological ideas. I believe that the classroom community is made richer when we share our own life examples. My new textbook from UTP, Through the Lens of Cultural Anthropology, seeks to create the kind of reading environment that connects author and students in the same way we connect in the classroom.

The textbook is an adaptation of a four-field general anthropology textbook that I co-authored with my Canadian colleague, Bob Muckle, called Through the Lens of Anthropology, Second Edition. As we wrote, we made an effort to create a text that was engaging and geared toward lower-division students. The book has a special focus on food, sustainability, and language throughout, with pop culture references that students will recognize. We also tried to write a true North American text, that felt relevant to students from both the US and Canada. Through the Lens of Cultural Anthropology develops the cultural and linguistic sections into a full semester’s course text with 12 chapters and additional chapter topics, retaining an emphasis on those areas mentioned above.

When writing Through the Lens of Cultural Anthropology, I thought of my own students, and what they deserve in a textbook. First, it’s essential that all students see themselves reflected in the book. For this reason, I put special emphasis on the use of gender-neutral pronouns and inclusion of transgender and non-binary issues throughout, not just confined to the gender and sexuality chapter. My research among gender expansive students in community colleges underscores the importance of inclusion of all genders and sexualities in the classroom and in course material.

Credit: Karen Rubins/Alpa Shah.

Secondly, the book makes a special effort to include narratives that are not always emphasized, such as the contributions of Black anthropologists, issues of White privilege, the voices of Canadian First Nations peoples, and others. It is important to me as a teacher and textbook author to enable students to connect to course material in not only logical but also emotional ways. I believe that transformative learning comes from compassion, not only intellectual understanding. Therefore, the book attempts to make these kinds of connections. I deeply appreciate the comment made by my friend and fellow UTP author, Tad McIlwraith, when he said the book “reads like a provocative argument in favour of cultural diversity.”

Finally, following the lead of editor Anne Brackenbury (who has recently left her position at UTP), the textbook uses comics and graphic panels to help tell the story of anthropology in a visual way. The cover has a preview of that focus, with a wonderful set of images of diverse people from the text by artist Charlotte Hollands, who regularly creates graphic panels for the American Anthropological Association. My students enjoy the way that a graphic story can draw them into a set of ideas in ways that text alone often can’t. For instance, reading about praxis may not be as successful as engaging with a graphic panel on praxis in the context of collaborating with the mermaid community (drawn by Karen Rubins, illustrating the article by Alpa Shah).

When I mention to people that I teach anthropology, I often hear “that was my favorite class in college!” The way cultural anthropology connects students’ lives to others around the world makes it a potentially transformative course, especially for students thinking about ethnocentrism or cultural relativism for the first time. Engaging in the act of deconstructing our own behavior – questioning our beliefs and behaviors – is a way to make course material real, both in the classroom and in our texts.


If you want to find out more about Through the Lens of Cultural Anthropology, click here to view the table of contents and read an exclusive excerpt from the book.

Laura Tubelle de González is a professor of Anthropology at San Diego Miramar College in Southern California.

Pride Month: Course Syllabi Featuring UTP Titles

Pride Month

To celebrate Pride Month, we have developed a blog series with weekly posts, designed to allow UTP authors the opportunity to share with us what Pride means to them, and to discuss a whole manner of Pride-related topics.

This week we’re showcasing UTP books that have made their way onto recent course syllabi. Read on to see how our books are used in undergraduate classroom across North America.


Prairie Fairies: A History of Queer Communities and People in Western Canada, 1930-1985

Prairie Fairies draws upon a wealth of oral, archival, and cultural histories to recover the experiences of queer urban and rural people in the prairies. Focusing on five major urban centres (Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, and Calgary), Prairie Fairies explores the regional experiences and activism of queer men and women by looking at the community centres, newsletters, magazines, and organizations that they created from 1930 to 1985.

  • Winner of the CHA 2019 Clio Prairies Book Award
  • Winner of the Jennifer Welsh Scholarly Writing Award (Saskatchewan Book Awards)

 

Course

Canadian Women’s and Gender History (HI 397), Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford, ON

Professor Tarah Brookfield lists Prairie Fairies as one out of three options for a book review assignment.

“This course explores the history of Canadian women from the colonial period until the end of the twentieth century. It compares women’s diverse historic experiences in the workplace, family, community, and nation, and how women’s and men’s identities and paths were shaped by social constructions of gender, race, sexuality, and class. The course also considers how historians have developed the field of women’s and gender history and how this has reshaped understandings of Canadian history.”


Queering Urban Justice: Queer of Colour Formations in Toronto

Queering Urban Justice foregrounds visions of urban justice that are critical of racial and colonial capitalism, and asks: What would it mean to map space in ways that address very real histories of displacement and erasure? What would it mean to regard Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (QTBIPOC) as geographic subjects who model different ways of inhabiting and sharing space?

Course

Urban Politics (PO 412), John Carroll University, University Heights, OH

Professor Elizabeth A. Stiles recommends Queering Urban Justice to students in this course.

“Most Americans live in metropolitan areas—either in a city or in a suburb based in relation to a city. The city is often the background for the American dream as opportunities for social mobility and wealth are present there. It is also the site for some of our sharpest failures as a nation—rising inequality, urban riots, and environmental problems. In this course, we will begin with various theories and evidence about urban politics and their surrounding suburbs. We will then analyze links between urban institutions and national politics, as well as issues of race, class, health disparities, and environmental issues.”


Sex and the Weimar Republic: German Homosexual Emancipation and the Rise of the Nazis

Liberated, licentious, or merely liberal, the sexual freedoms of Germany’s Weimar Republic have become legendary. The home of the world’s first gay rights movement, the republic embodied a progressive, secular vision of sexual liberation. Sex and the Weimar Republic examines the rise of sexual tolerance through the debates which surrounded “immoral” sexuality: obscenity, male homosexuality, lesbianism, transgender identity, heterosexual promiscuity, and prostitution.

Course

Modern German History – The Weimar Years (HIST 196G), University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

Professor Edward Kehler teaches this course and each week students are asked to discuss a particular reading. In Week 7, students focus on Sex and the Weimar Republic.

“The class is designed as a small-group discussion course providing a broad overview of some of the major historiographical debates concerning the Weimar period. Through the readings we will analyze modern Germany’s experiment with democracy and its failure. Subjects of study will include the foundation and development of the Weimar Republic, the political and economic challenges it faced, and its ultimate collapse. Aspects of Weimar culture, including gender politics and homosexual emancipation, and the factors that enabled Adolf Hitler’s seizure of power will also be covered in depth.”


Consider adding these titles to your course syllabi:

VIVA M•A•C: AIDS, Fashion, and the Philanthropic Practices of M•A•C Cosmetics

The first cultural history of the iconic brand M·A·C Cosmetics, VIVA M·A·C charts the evolution of M·A·C’s revolutionary corporate philanthropy around HIV/AIDS awareness. Drawing upon exclusive interviews with M·A·C co-founder Frank Toskan, key journalists, and fashion insiders, Andrea Benoit tells the fascinating story of how M·A·C’s unique style of corporate social responsibility emerged from specific cultural practices, rather than being part of a strategic marketing plan.


Amplify: Graphic Narratives of Feminist Resistance

In this highly original text—a collaboration between a college professor, a playwright, and an artist—graphic storytelling offers an emotionally resonant way for readers to understand and engage with feminism and resistance.

“This is the book for you if you have ever struggled to reconcile the academic, artistic, and activist sides of yourself: it combines feminist analysis and history with compelling discussion questions and striking illustrations of recent political struggles. This is the book for you if you are ready to learn about social justice in a fresh way that engages multiple learning styles and modes of expression: lead a class or a discussion group by showing an image, posing a debate question, reading an excerpt, or pursuing one of the research activities provided. This is the rare book that treats its readers as equals by showing us all how we can join the conversation and take up the struggle.”

Lucas Crawford, Department of English, University of New Brunswick


Growing into Resilience: Sexual and Gender Minority Youth in Canada

Despite recent progress in civil rights for sexual and gender minorities (SGM), ensuring SGM youth experience fairness, justice, inclusion, safety, and security in their schools and communities remains an ongoing challenge. In Growing into Resilience, André P. Grace and Kristopher Wells investigate how teachers, healthcare workers, and other professionals can help SGM youth build the human and material assets that will empower them to be happy, healthy, and resilient.


Homophobia in the Hallways: Heterosexism and Transphobia in Canadian Catholic Schools

In Homophobia in the Hallways, Tonya D. Callaghan interrogates institutionalized homophobia and transphobia in the publicly-funded Catholic school systems of Ontario and Alberta. Featuring twenty interviews with students and teachers who have faced overt discrimination in Catholic schools, the book blends theoretical inquiry and real-world case study, making Callaghan’s study a unique insight into religiously-inspired heterosexism and genderism. She uncovers the causes and effects of the long-standing disconnect between Canadian Catholic schools and the Charter by comparing the treatment of and attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer teachers and students in these publicly-funded systems.


Pink Blood: Homophobic Violence in Canada

Pink Blood is the first book to analyze homophobic violence on a national scale. Douglas Victor Janoff uses social theory, legal analysis, descriptive case studies, and interviews with victims, activists, and police officers from thirty cities to convey the shattering impact this violence has had on queer Canadians and on the communities they inhabit.

Drawing from a wide range of scholarship—law, criminology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and social work—Pink Blood is an important addition to the literature on queer life in Canada from a respected researcher and community activist.

Talking Back to the Indian Act

Talking Back to the Indian Act: Critical Readings in Settler Colonial Histories is a comprehensive “how-to” guide for engaging with primary source documents. But more than that, the book explores the Indian Act itself, and gives readers a much better understanding of this vital piece of legislation. We asked authors Mary-Ellen Kelm and Keith D. Smith to discuss their book, and why learning this information and history is important.

You can read an exclusive excerpt from the book here.

“We find the Indian Act of 1876 are [sic] not calculated to promote our welfare if we accept it because it empowers the Superintendent General of Indian affairs to manage, govern, and control our lands, moneys, and properties without first obtaining the consent of the chiefs…”

Talking Back to the Indian Act: Critical Readings in Settler Colonial Histories is being published at a key moment in our history. Not only do we live in an age of twenty-four-hour news outlets broadcasting sharply divergent and politically motivated narratives, and where the nature of evidence is questioned in overtly public ways – we are also poised to begin a process of reconciling with Indigenous people in this country. Talking Back addresses both these critical issues.

The book provides a set of lessons in reading documents through a historical and critical lens that takes into account Indigenous and intersectional perspectives. In so doing, it demonstrates the historians’ craft as it can be reconceived so that alongside context, contingency, causation, change over time, and complexity (the five “Cs” of historical thinking), we also consider relationship, responsibility, respect, and reciprocity (the four “Rs” of Indigenous methodologies). It shows the value of thinking deeply about the role in historical experience played by gender, sexuality, ability, and other ways of being. As such, it introduces readers to an expansive approach to critically engaging with the written word that addresses key questions about the nature of evidence, how it is made, and how it can be used. Readers of Talking Back to the Indian Act will never again feel that they lack the tools to truly interrogate historical or other documents.

At the same time, Talking Back to the Indian Act introduces the reader to one of the most important pieces of legislation in Canadian history and – sadly – one that many Canadians know very little about. For nearly a century and a half, the Indian Act has dominated the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples living within its borders. As it sought to erase individual and collective identities, the Indian Act operated to extinguish Indigenous political structures, regulate familial relationships and gender roles, degrade kinship networks, circumscribe economic undertakings, reduce the land base available to Indigenous communities, and prohibit practices central to the maintenance of Indigenous cultures. Even those Indigenous people who Canada did not choose to classify as “Indian” have been impacted by the Act as they struggled to assert their own distinct identities and legal rights.

The provisions of the Indian Act, the surveillance required for its maintenance, and Indigenous responses to its intentions and effects have created a massive archive. It is from this prodigious body of material that Talking Back to the Indian Act draws the documents it uses to teach critical historical reading methods. Included here are: the original 1876 Act and the many amendments made to it, queries and clarifications from Canadian officials, law enforcement documents, legal opinions, court records, and reports from various commissions and inquiries. Importantly, here too are Indigenous people’s letters of protest, oral testimony, meeting transcripts of Indigenous organizations and inquiries, radio addresses, and creative works all talking back to the Indian Act from Indigenous perspectives. Readers who may have heard very little about the Indian Act will come away from this text with a better understanding of how the Act worked to constrain Indigenous lives and how Indigenous people persistently worked to overcome those constraints.

Talking Back to the Indian Act provides a set of lessons that shine light on several critical aspects of the Act and Indigenous responses to them in historical context. It encourages students to move beyond simply reading historical documents and to engage with them in more refined and effective ways. To that end, readers of this text are given an introduction to the interpretative tools traditionally available to historians and how these might be utilized in concert with Indigenous methodologies and intersectional analyses. Students will come away from this book with a much better understanding of this pivotal piece of legislation as well as the dynamics involved in its creation, its maintenance, and the resistance it engendered.

Talking Back to the Indian Act is not a definitive study of the Indian Act but includes a range of important topics that resonate across time and into the present. Each of these topics has stimulated an intriguing array of voices and document types available to researchers. This range of material has allowed the documents provided in this collection to be selected with variety of source type and perspective in mind. Readers will have the opportunity to not only interrogate individual letters, transcripts of oral accounts and testimony, official reports, reminiscences, legislation, creative writing, and other materials but also to consider the relative value of different kinds of sources to different sorts of projects that a researcher might undertake. In addition to the focus on issues that are significant in their own right, there are also a number of overarching themes represented here. For example, Canada’s goals of acquiring land and resources and assimilating Indigenous people are evident throughout this text, as is Indigenous resistance in its many forms.

Exploring the contours and development of the Indian Act through the documents provided in this text will help students in all disciplines – as well as popular audiences – navigate the headlines of today. It is our hope that Talking Back to the Indian Act makes a contribution to historical understanding while at the same time enhancing the skills necessary to analyse our present situation and the most appropriate paths to the future.

Mary-Ellen Kelm is Canada Research Chair and Professor in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University, and Keith D. Smith teaches in the Departments of Indigenous Studies and History at Vancouver Island University.

Recommended Reading for Back to School

With the start of the new school year, we thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight some of our new education titles. We’ve picked out five titles for you to have a look at.

Staying Human during Residency Training: How to Survive and Thrive After Medical School

By Allan D. Peterkin

The ultimate survival guide for medical students, interns, residents, and fellows, Staying Human during Residency Training provides time-tested advice and the latest information on every aspect of a resident’s life – from choosing a residency program, to coping with stress, enhancing self-care, and protecting personal and professional relationships.

Allan D. Peterkin, MD provides hundreds of tips on how to cope with sleep deprivation, time pressures, and ethical and legal issues. This sixth edition is not only updated to reflect the latest research and resources, but also features new material on the latest issues in residency training, including social media use, patient-centered care, the medical humanities, and the “hidden curriculum” of residency.

Acknowledged by thousands of doctors across North America as an invaluable resource, Staying Human during Residency Training has helped to shape notions of trainee well-being for medical educators worldwide. Offering wise, compassionate, and professional counsel, this edition again shows why it is required reading for medical students and new physicians pursuing postgraduate training.

“This guide should be required reading for each intern beginning residency and also for each and every residency program director in North America.”

Aliye Runyan, Medical Education Team Chair, American Medical Student Association, and Sonia Lazreg, AMSA/Committee of Interns and Residents Health Justice Fellow

Work Your Career: Get What You Want from Your Social Sciences or Humanities PhD

By Loleen Berdahl and Jonathan Malloy

Work Your Career offers practical advice to PhD students in Canada on how best to position themselves for a successful career. The book looks at both academic and non-academic career options for graduate students, and how to prepare concurrently for each.

The authors carefully recognize that every student brings unique skills, values, and aspirations and that a career path in academia might not be the sole option for students. Drawing on their own personal careers and experience, Berdahl and Malloy provide motivations and strategies for students and provide answers to the questions that many PhD students have. Work Your Career is in essence a mentoring program for students and is full of practical advice on how to be best prepared for a successful career.

A must read for any graduate student in Canada!

The Craft of University Teaching

By Peter Lindsay

Intended for professors of all academic disciplines who either enjoy teaching or wish to enjoy it more, the soon to-be-released The Craft of University Teaching is a provocative and accessible book containing practical advice gleaned from the academic literature on pedagogy.

In an era of increased bureaucratic oversight, rapidly diminishing budgets, and waves of technological distraction, The Craft of University Teaching provokes reflection on matters of pedagogy that are too often taken as settled. In so doing, it seeks to reclaim teaching as the intellectually vibrant and intrinsically rewarding endeavor that it is.

“Peter Lindsay has produced an energetic study of the craft of teaching. His lively treatment will resonate with anyone who has stood in front of a classroom. He rescues the topic from both formula-seekers and those who think good teaching can’t be taught. The result is a stimulating practicum delivered by a bona fide maestro.”

Peter T. Struck, Professor and Chair of the Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Kickstarting Your Academic Career: Skills to Succeed in the Social Sciences

By Robert L. Ostergard, Jr. and Stacy B. Fisher

Kickstarting Your Academic Career is a primer on the common scholastic demands that social sciences students face upon entering college or university. Based on the challenges that instructors most often find students need help with, the authors offer practical advice and tips on topics such as how to communicate with instructors, take notes, read a textbook, research and write papers, and write successful exams. The succinct writing and clear organization make this an essential reference for first-year students as they encounter post-secondary work for the first time, and a useful refresher for upper-year students looking to refine their skills.

“I would recommend Kickstarting Your Academic Career to every college student because they can benefit from the advice given in the book. It establishes what mindset you need and what tools you can utilize in order to be as successful as you can throughout your schooling. It is also written in a clear, concise manner that any student can understand regardless of their reading comprehensive skills.”

Lauren Bullock, Sophomore at Stephen F. Austin State University

The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy

By Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber

If there is one sector of society that should be cultivating deep thought in itself and others, it is academia. Yet the corporatisation of the contemporary university has sped up the clock, demanding increased speed and efficiency from faculty regardless of the consequences for education and scholarship.

In The Slow Professor, Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber discuss how adopting the principles of the slow movement in academic life can counter this erosion of humanistic education. Focusing on the individual faculty member and his or her own professional practice, Berg and Seeber present both an analysis of the culture of speed in the academy and ways of alleviating stress while improving teaching, research, and collegiality. The Slow Professor will be a must-read for anyone in academia concerned about the frantic pace of contemporary university life.