Archive for November 1st, 2011

Mind your language

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Born in Lithuania in 1858 Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, (originally Eliezer Yitzhak Perelman) moved to Jerusalem, married and tried to raise his son (born 1882) to speak only Hebrew. At this time there was only a limited vocabulary in the language but Ben Yehuda campaigned and from 1882 the language was taught in some schools. In 1884 a Hebrew newspaper was started. In 1918 a stone was laid to ceremonially show that there was to be a university in British Mandate Palestine and in 1925 the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was opened. The name reflects how language is often defended through universities. (more…)

University history is the nation’s history

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

The conference was a delight. We convened in one of the older parts of the university pictured in this report. There we heard a fascinating welcome talk from John Peter Collett, Professor at the University of Oslo and then Mitchell Ash, Prof of Modern History, Vienna presented a keynote on ‘Universities, science, scholarship and national identity’ and there was a contribution from Benjamin A Elman, Professor of East Asian Studies and History, Princeton who gave a paper entitled: ‘Why was the scientist in Chinese Universities call ‘Mr Science’ based on Japanese universities?’ A theme running through all the contributions was that of national identity. This postings title comes from John Peter who explained the centrality of the University of Oslo to Norway. Many universities provide training for the elite administrators of the state or church but also embody national and often regional pride. It was only when the talks had concluded and we were filing out, some of us with rather numb due to the unforgiving wooden seats, that I snapped the ceiling. (more…)