Archives for category: first person
Great Fire Smyrna 1922, refugees crowding into boats

Overcrowded boats with refugees fleeing the Fire of Smyrna, 1922. The photo had been taken from the launch boat of a US warship.

Or: A reflection on the sadistic humour of the goddess Clio.

There is an alternative origin story for the Floating Univeristy that does not (at the moment) get told in my book.

It begins like this:

Some time in the cold New York winter of February 1925, six men met for dinner on a ship moored on the East River at the southeastern tip of the Bronx. The Professor, the ship’s Captain, the diplomat, the newspaper Editor and the Quaker had been brought together by a Greek refugee called Constantine Raises.

Read the rest of this entry »

terry-pratchett (Source:Getty)

Tamson Pietsch

Senior lecturer in social and political sciences, University of Technology Sydney

While academics in the northern hemisphere are packing their books and heading for the beach or the hills, south of the equator we are curling up by the fire. Keeping me company there will be Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation, a book that has been so frequently cited in my reading of other people’s work this year that I’ve decided it’s high time I had a direct encounter. I am also looking forward to taking up the late, great Terry Pratchett’s (pictured) Making Money (Corgi). I have always loved his Discworld books for the wry, affectionate, incisive commentary on our world they offered, and I thought I had made my way through them all. Imagine my joy, then, when I came upon this one in a second-hand book stall last week!

Check out the holiday reads of the Times Higher Ed’s other scholars here.


Way back in the far-away-world of 2010 I was invited to attend the tenth of a series of symposia on Knowledge and Space sponsored by the Klaus Tschira Stiftung in the Studio Villa Bosch, Heidelberg.

It was one of the most stimulating academic events I’ve yet attended. Although I had by then already begun to read outside the discipline of History, I had been doing so in a somewhat haphazard and unguided manner. It was the 2010 symposium in Heidelberg that really opened up my eyes to the conversations about knowledge, space, mobility and technology taking place in Science Studies and Geography. At it I met several scholars whose work has deeply influenced my own and encountered new horizons for my research.

Now some of the papers from this event have been published as Mobilities of Knowledge (volume 10 in the Klaus Tschira Knowledge and Space Book Series). Together they examine how the geographical mobility of people and (im)material things has impacted epistemic systems of knowledge in different historical and geographical contexts. Thanks to Springer and the Klaus Tschira Stiftung the volume is available online and as open access(Other volumes from the series are available here)

My piece considers the changing appointment practices of universities in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain and its empire. It points to the importance of private knowledge and highlights the cultures of trust that shaped an academic geography that was both expansive and exclusionary.

But it should be the last thing you read. Check out this fantastic list of contributors! Read the rest of this entry »