Proclaiming the Philosophy of Higher Education: Scope, Character, Potential

Ronald Barnett

November 29, 2022, at 20.00-21.30 Central European Time (CET) (UTC+1)

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You are all invited to this presentation and discussion of Emeritus Professor Ronald Barnett’s new book The Philosophy of Higher Education: A Critical Introduction (Routledge, 2022). Barnett will give a presentation of his book followed by comments by Professor Nuraan Davids and Professor Michael Peters. The audience will be invited to take an active part in the discussion too.

The philosophy of higher education is a new sub-field of intellectual inquiry, having just thirty years or so behind it. Already, it is studied across the world, with experienced and newer scholars and research students pursuing an ever-widening array of topics.  It has spawned a learned society (PaTHES itself), at least two journals, and two book series (as well as books elsewhere) and sustains conferences and exchanges nationally and internationally, both physical and virtual. 

However, until now, there has been no book over these past three decades that has sought to identify the field, and lay out its territory.  Ronald Barnett’s recently published book, The Philosophy of Higher Education: A Critical Introduction (Routledge, 2022) seeks to do just this, and to stretch the field even into new territories. 

Drawing on the book, in this webinar, Barnett will attempt not simply to locate and describe the field but to make a pitch for a particular conception of the field; not just the philosophy of higher education but a philosophy of higher education that is at once conceptual, societal, critical, spirit-ual, ecological, imaginative and practical, and more or less in that order.  This is a philosophy of higher education that is deeply realist – and, indeed, Earthly – but also ideationally open, reaching into utopian and even stratospheric spaces.

Prof Ron Barnett

Ron Barnett is Emeritus Professor of Higher Education at University College London Institute of Education, where he was a Dean and a Pro-Director.  He was Chair of the Society for Research into Higher Education, was awarded the inaugural prize by the European Association for Educational Research for his ‘outstanding contribution to Higher Education Research, Policy and Practice’ and is President of the Philosophy and Theory of Higher Education Society.  He has played a major part in helping to develop the philosophy of higher education, having published 35+ books and hundreds of papers, and given 150 keynote talks. He has been cited over 25,000 times and described as ‘the master scholar of the university’.

Prof Nuraan Davids

Nuraan Davids is Professor of Philosophy of Education in the Department of Education Policy Studies, Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University. Her primary research interests are philosophy of higher education; democratic citizenship education; and Islamic philosophy of education. She is a Co-Editor of the Routledge series, World Issues in the Philosophy and Theory of Higher Education; and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Education in Muslim Societies. Recent books include Out of place: An autoethnography of postcolonial citizenship (African Minds, 2022);  Democratic education as inclusion (Rowman & Littlefield – Lexington Series, 2022, with Y. Waghid); Academic Activism in higher education: A living philosophy for social justice (Springer, 2021, with Y. Waghid).

Prof Michael A. Peters

Michael A. Peters is Distinguished Professor of Education at Beijing Normal University, Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Auckland. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the journals, Education Philosophy and Theory and The Beijing International Review of Education (with Zhu Xudong). He writes on topics in education and philosophy and has published books on Wittgenstein and Foucault, among others. His most recent publications include Pandemic Education and Viral Politics (2020), The Far-Right, Education and Violence (2020), both with Tina Besley, and Wittgenstein, Education and the Problem of Rationality (2021). He is a lifetime member of the NZ Academy of Humanities and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2008. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Society for Research into Higher Education and he was awarded honorary doctorates by State University of New York (SUNY) in 2012 and the University of Aalborg in 2015.