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Friday Reading Group

In August we’ll be looking at the Introduction and Chapter 3 of Tom Nichols’ The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2017). See attached.  The discussion will be facilitated by ECAF, Hillary Howes, who below explains the importance of this reading in our ‘post-truth world’.

Hillary writes:

I chose these chapters because I am concerned by what appears to be a growing rejection of expertise and expert knowledge on many fronts, from anti-vaccination campaigners to Brexiteers (Michael Gove’s declaration that “People in this country [Great Britain] have had enough of experts” comes to mind) to climate change deniers. It is often asserted that we live in a “post-truth world”; what does this mean for us as researchers who (presumably) consider ourselves experts, or at least experts-in-training, in our respective fields, and as educators endeavouring to impart to our students not only expertise, but a respect for expert knowledge and the ability to recognise it?

The Introduction gives a general overview of Nichols’ approach to the topic and his rationale for writing the book. Chapter 3 deals specifically with higher education. Although both are focused on the American experience, I think many of his points are more broadly applicable.

If you are interested in attending the reading group please email Grant Walton –



Nichols 2017 Death of Expertise Chapter 3

Nichols 2017 Death of Expertise Introduction