Desert Island Monographs – Sam Bradley

You’re a castaway on a remote island, far from any chance of rescue or aid. You’ve got supplies to last you a good while, but you’re alone; how are you going to stay sane? Easy: you’ve brought three academic monographs with you, to keep your wits sharp and your theory up-to-date.Innovative Learning Week’s academic spin on the famous BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs – in which guests bring eight personally significant albums to accompany them during their island sojourn and discuss their choices – removes the usual defaults of a Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare in favour of academic neutrality, and replaces the normal eight records with a trio of academic monographs.

At this event, hosted by the School of Social and Political Science, faculty members lead a discussion of the three texts that influenced them the most in their academic careers – from novels to anthropological volumes – offering a space to discuss the way that books can be used to educate, enthuse and illuminate. Staff members spoke about how certain books inspired, motivated and challenged them at different points in their lives – during their undergraduate days, or whilst gathering field data – and how it affected their own work.

Although the event was open to all students, those studying anthropology and sociology would have benefited most from the event, since it offered such a good opportunity to get inside the heads of staff in SSPS. Still, even those with the lightest of introductions to the subject (like myself) could follow and benefit from the informal learning experience offered by the open-court style discussion at the event.

Sam Bradley

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