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Monday, 15 August 2011

Nathaniel Tapley on David Starkey

This is a good analysis of Starkey and of the historical profession, or of a particular segment of it.  Tapley's mistake is to assume that we are all like that and that that's how we all teach.  We aren't, and we don't.  But it's only the ones who are like that (and are produced by the same educational methods/system as it seems produced Tapley himself) that get the access to the media (shockingly easily too, see below - and that's not to mention dear old India Lennon, who hadn't even finished her BA degree).  It's a good insider's analysis of the vaunted tutorial system, too - and that's where it's working and not degenerated into a 1:2 min-lecture as people working within that system tell me it often does - and illustration of precisely the kind of absolutely-confident-but-not-exactly-deep thinking it has a pronounced tendency to engender.

I'm not sure about his attack on our old chum, Dan Snow, though.  OK, the fact that his Dad's a TV presenter and his aunt is an Oxford history professor doubtless haven't held him back in his career , whatever his actual ability (the self-perpetuating socio-educational elite again...).  But at least, unlike 'saviour of the discipline' William Hastings Bourke, he doesn't go on about history needing him to 'bring it up to speed' and, unlike Hastings Bourke, he does actually have a degree in History, from Oxford.  Then again, so does David Cameron's caricature comedy dim-witted side-kick, George Osborne ...  Oh well.

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