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Derrida

This tag is associated with 17 posts

What’s wrong with postmodernism

Training and professional competence offer no immunity against casual and unguarded opinion. In spite of my training, like any novice, I’m keen to identify certain buildings as postmodern. Such structures are usually signalled by a triangular pediment somewhere, or an arch, semi-classical columns, axial symmetry, and they are of monumental scale, or out of scale. Such buildings are also … Continue reading

Flipped classroom 101

What is a lecture? In the 1980s with Jacques Derrida’s radical hermeneutics in full flow, we read about and practiced the lec(ri)ture, an inversion of the lecturing format — the insertion of laughter (ri) into the standard, conventional idea that knowledge could be delivered by talking to a group of people sitting in front of you. Scholar of English literature Gregory Ulmer asserted … Continue reading

Unsuccessful failure

It’s impossible to fail utterly. Years ago, before they were usual practice, a colleague and I organised a postgraduate recruitment open day for our department. It was a great innovation, with a substantial turnout of staff. The five or so potential applicants who appeared included a boy still at school, a couple inquiring on behalf of a … Continue reading

Even more radical pedagogy

This week Beatriz Colomina spoke at the Andrew Carnegie Lecture Series at the University of Edinburgh on radical pedagogy. That prompted me to rush to Jacques Rancière’s book The Ignorant Schoolmaster, which she referenced. The book is a satirical quasi-historical account of an actual nineteenth century French schoolteacher who practiced liberal teaching methods, and sought to emancipate … Continue reading

Deconstruct that!

Fish pie essentials include leftover cooked fish mixed with bechamel sauce covered in creamy mashed potatoes and baked in the oven. For a deconstructed fish pie on the other hand the chef prepares the dish so that the main ingredients are cooked and put on the plate individually. The eater can see and taste what the “pie” is made of and savour the components … Continue reading

Why cartoons have animals 2

Watching pet owners coach their pets to talk provides one of the more amusing diversions on YouTube. Apparently you can train a dog to say “hello” as a kind of vocalised yawn, or to growl out something like “sausages.” In a post in May 2012 I outlined 9 reasons why cartoons feature animals. Here’s a 10th reason: getting animals to talk. It’s obvious: animals (non-human) … Continue reading

Architectural pragmatics

It’s important to get to the truth. Michael Gove, the current UK education secretary, thinks that we are selling short the truth about WWI: “Our understanding of the war has been overlaid by misunderstandings, and misrepresentations which reflect an, at best, ambiguous attitude to this country and, at worst, an unhappy compulsion on the part … Continue reading

Derrida for stand-ups

It’s easy to get carried away with words, either written or spoken, especially if you’re good at stringing them together. I was reminded of this propensity at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with its programme category “Spoken Word,” indicating entertainments in which amusing writers like David Sedaris stand up and talk, and others sit and listen … Continue reading

Loose ends

Nobody knows where anything comes from any more. DNA testing reveals horse meat in hamburger mince. Do British food authorities “have sufficient measures in place to cope with the increasing globalisation of the food supply chain?” (Independent) Not being able to identify where things start is a bit like the problem of origins in philosophy: “The … Continue reading

The bliss of ignorance

It’s old news now, but Prime Minister David Cameron was asked on a late night US tv show if he knew what Magna Carta meant in English. He didn’t and had to bluff (Guardian). An acquaintance told me about an overseas visitor who thought that Magna Carter was the lady in the green dress in … Continue reading

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