February 25, 2013

Jude and the University

This is quite an old Radio 4 discussion from 2003 about Jude the Obscure and the university system, but nonetheless raises some interesting and pertinent issues about the novel in the context of our focus on Culture and Change, and on the idea of the University more broadly.

The programme explores the historical context around university admissions and the cost of education, and uses this to explore the more recent debates about university tuition fees. The first part focuses on university admissions, and looks at a "real-life" Jude, Ernest Barker, the son of a farmer, who was successful in obtaining a place at Oxford and went on to become a very successful figure. The second part looks at the financial cost of education, whilst part 3 focuses on contemporary issues around university tuition fees (back in 2003 discussions about the change to university tuition fees were just getting started with moves towards the £3000/year rate being planned).

In addition to the preparation questions I suggested, you might also want to think about the relevance of Jude today and the various questions it raises around university education as part of its wider debates around "culture".

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