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Britain has never been a meritocracy. Despite the concept’s widely-evoked vision of a ‘fair’ or ‘just’ social order, one where individuals rise or fall according to their ‘talents’ or ‘efforts’, the rise of the meritocracy has continually been scuppered by the perseverance of inherited privilege or democratic pressure.
The most remarkable feature of the mould-breaking expansion of higher education that took place across the world in the 1960s was the foundation of some 200 entirely new universities.
Tom Rice’s book offers an extensive and cogent history of the Colonial Film Unit (CFU) from its early conception in the minds of bureaucrats and educational specialists to its dissolution following the wave of independence movements in the mid-20th century.
In 1899 the Straits Chinese physician and community leader Lim Boon Keng made the case that female education was beneficial to the community as a whole: ‘Keep your women in a low, ignorant and servile state, and in time you will become a low, ignorant and servile people – male and female!’ (p.
The history of eugenics continues to provide new and challenging ways to interpret the some of the major developments in social policy and social work during the 20th century, from child welfare, public health, and family planning, to the institutionalisation of disabled persons and the treatment of mentally ill.
Virtually every major male figure involved in England’s reformations was a product of one of England’s two universities, and biographers rightly recognise the importance of understanding people’s careers at Oxford and Cambridge to their later lives. Yet the institutional history of the universities themselves, especially Cambridge, has been neglected.
The relief and resettlement of Europe’s unaccompanied and displaced children in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War has recently received considerable scholarly scrutiny. The two books reviewed here, while different in scope and methodology, are both welcome additions to the growing literature on the topic.
We are all familiar with modern debates in the media regarding the politics of refugee rescue and arguments surrounding which immigrants should be prioritised for rescue and aid.
It was more than 30 years ago when Albert Hourani pointed to the common Ottoman lineages of the Arab political elite active in the inter-war Middle East. ‘They had been at school together in Istanbul’, he noted.
Of all the Federal Arts Projects set up as part of the New Deal, the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) was, in the words of one contemporary, the ‘ugly duckling’ (p. 35).