Glyn Davis

An annual challenge: how to select essays which capture the moment but live beyond the immediate?

For some, rigour matters. The series editor for The Best American Essays invites magazine editors and writers to submit contributions to a Boston postal address. The rules are strict: an essay is a literary work that shows ‘an awareness of craft and f ...

Books of the Year 2016

Sheila Fitzpatrick et al.
Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Originally published in German, Albrecht Dümling’s The Vanished Musicians: Jewish refugees in Australia (Peter Lang), a fascinating compendium of Jewish musicians who found refuge in Australia in the 1930s and 1940s, is now available in Australian Diana K. Weekes’s excellent translation ...

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Glyn Davis reviews 'Think Again' by Stanley Fish

Glyn Davis
Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Should American academics boycott contact with Israeli universities in protest against events in Palestine? The issue has been fiercely debated at many American colleges, argued at meetings of the American Association of University Professors, dilated in the broader media. Those supporting a boycott, writes Stanley Fish in Think Again, rely on an expanded d ...

Books of the Year 2015

Robert Adamson et al.
Monday, 23 November 2015

Jennifer Maiden's The Fox Petition: New Poems (Giramondo) conjures foxes 'whose eyes were ghosts with pity' and foxes of language that transform the world's headlines

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‘There’s a greater problem here. This is a president who won’t proudly proclaim American exceptionalism, maybe the first president ever who truly doesn’t believe in that … Look at his foreign policy. Doesn’t believe [in] America as a force for good, it doesn’t seem. Seems like instead, he believes in multilateralism as a goal, not a tactic. He allows f ...

Glyn Davis reviews 'Poiesis' by Peter Acton

Glyn Davis
Monday, 02 March 2015

On what terms should we interrogate the past? Ancient life can seem essentially unknowable, a place where everything is different, glimpsed only in the words of those who lived then and surviving traces of material culture.

The Cambridge classical scholar Sir Moses Finley argued for an interpretation of ancient life bounded by then current civic and religiou ...

Glyn Davis reviews 'Just Freedom'

Glyn Davis
Tuesday, 22 July 2014

In a recent Prospect interview, distinguished Princeton and ANU scholar Philip Pettit described political philosophy as a conversation around various themes. Some voices focus on power or freedom, others on democracy or the nature of the state. The conversation should extend beyond the academy, argued Pettit, to embrace public intellectuals, journalists, comm ...

Michael Ignatieff Learns from Defeat

Glyn Davis
Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Knowledge gained through academic life is no preparation for political practice. So found Michael Ignatieff, the distinguished Canadian historian and public intellectual. In October 2004 he was teaching at Harvard University when approached by ‘three men in black’. These Liberal Party power brokers suggested Ignatieff leave the classroom and run for office. F ...

Glyn Davis reviews 'The Making of Modern Liberalism'

Glyn Davis
Wednesday, 24 October 2012

In a famous essay on poetry, English philosopher Michael Oakeshott evoked the metaphor of conversation to describe how people share and discuss ideas. A conversation, suggested Oakeshott, allows a continuous discussion between past and present, between the thought of earlier generations and the pressing needs of the present. A conversation is not a search for truth ...

Glyn Davis Reviews 'What Are Universities For?'

Glyn Davis
Tuesday, 24 April 2012

What happens if we take seriously the metaphor of a marketplace of ideas? Philosopher John Armstrong and economist Carsten Murawski recently tested that question in an article on theconversation.edu.au, by exploring the implications of a market logic for higher education (20 March 2012).They argued that student choice would remodel the teaching and research agendas ...

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