- Occupying Schools, Occupying Land: How the Landless Workers Movement Transformed Brazilian Education (Oxford University Press 2019)
by Rebecca Tarlau
I really appreciate the important work you’re doing, and I wanted to introduce myself.
My name is Jared Horvath and I am a cognitive neuroscientist and lecturer at the University of Melbourne with a speciality in learning and memory.
I have written a popular-science book that explores the neuroscience of learning and teaching. The book is called Stop Talking, Start Influencing: 12 Insights from Brain Science to Make Your Message Stick (publisher: Exisle Press, ISBN-10: 1925335909). I'm really excited about this book and think it'll really benefit educators, parents, and students.
This is why I am writing - I was wondering if you might be able/willing to consider having a read of the book with the idea of possibly generating a review for Teachers College Record? In return, I'd be happy to write an article for you as well.
Let me know your thoughts and, if you're keen, I'd be happy to send a copy or shoot over a digital PDF.
Thank you in advance for your consideration - I truly hope to hear from you soon!
All my best,
Jared Horvath, PhD, MEd
Lecturer - University of Melbourne
Director - LME Global & Science of Learning Group
- Abigail Williams, The Social Life of Books
Abigail Williams in The Social Life of Books transforms our notion of dusty books and lifeless texts into vivid experiences. She argues that eighteenth century literature was not merely confined to the text, but was performed, read aloud, and transformed by the various companies who consumed books together. In a visual age, we often forget that the new medium of the eighteenth century was the written word as a spoken exercise. Reading animated both private and public social circles, perhaps as no other force. Above all, the family fireside became the most influential place for the book to touch the lives of its hearers. Historians have marked the eighteenth century as an era of rising social mores and acculturated taste among the middling sorts in coffeehouses, at theaters, and other public arenas, but it is only recently that more private venues like home, family, and friends have been included in the discussion of sociability. Williams places reading firming inside both the private and public social lives of its readers.
Eighteenth century urbanites read everywhere and in different ways. Williams helpfully reminds her readers that literature was broader than just the novel; it included a diverse range of new mediums such as the chapbook, the newspaper, journal, or magazine, poems, joke books, drama, and works of travel and science. Even the novel itself was often abridged, divided, or disseminated in fragments for literary criticism and publicly available at low cost. The diversity of these versions reflected the social situations in which books were read. Contemporary poems celebrated the fireside reading circle as the seat of modest domesticity. Readers consumed old books and new. The furniture of country homes and the choice of books on display in their libraries reflected this emphasis on pleasure reading as a sociable activity. Theology, moral instruction, and even joke books were read in such small companies. Readers choose books on the basis of their ease in reading aloud and the new Grub street writers catered to this more mobile and verbal form. Editors re-wrote versions of books and plays such as Shakespeare for home reading.
The eighteenth century book market also reinforced that notion that reading was a sociable form of entertainment and a growing “conversational knowledge.” Usually, instructional letters of the time framed learning as a sociable exchange between amateurs and their students. But less formally, reading, drinking, and laughing over witty passages were the hallmarks of companies in London’s new coffeehouses, pleasure gardens, and circulating library clubs. Merchandise with themes from literature circulated widely through London, just as film franchise merchandise does today. The many published riddles, dialogues, and conundrums of the period are enough to suggest that public reading functioned as both a hobby and an art form. Williams’s emphasis on the sociological categories of behavioral reading serve as a reminder to scholars of sociability to no longer view “print culture” as entirely literary, but rather as experiential. Reading was distilled in the varied emphases that readers gave to certain passages.
Finally, Williams argues that the eighteenth century book trade was integrated into the tastes, mores, and fashions of the day. Reading became associated with elocution and politeness, although impolite jests coexisted with polite literature. Audiences judged books for their speech rhythms. Literary critics wrote directions to readers on how to pronounce certain passages and where to place emphasis. Proper pronunciation became a scientific notation of inflections and natural delivery was a new social imperative for reading circles. Because of public reading, the countenance and various expressions of emotion became the subjects of polite inquiry. Here, Williams relies on the famed literary critic of London, Samuel Johnson, whose Ramble and Idler columns dictated stylistic readings then in vogue. Johnson spoke of a form of public reading which glowed with “animation.” At home, reading out loud was seen as a moral endeavor, where especially women could be improved by reading devotional passages of feeling and sentiment. Williams reminds us that reading was not just urbane, but also humane. It was an expression of sociable exchange in an age when reading was the new medium of human interaction.
- Journell, W. (Ed.). (2019). Unpacking fake news: An educator's guide to navigating the media with students. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
- Classroom Cultures: Equitable Schooling for Racially Diverse Youth by Michelle G. Knight-Manuel and Joanne E. Marciano (2018, Teachers College Press).