Hospitality & Higher Education

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In the current landscape of higher education, there is increasing consideration given to documenting, managing and regulating practices of teaching and learning in the university. In particular, there has been an emphasis on what students can expect of their experience of studying at university, and of the expectations around contact time with academic staff. This has led to the development of metrics that assess teaching intensity and value for money. Such developments anticipate certain modes of being with students, ones that tend to give scant attention to what it is to be in a relationship of mutual hospitality with another person. While we can think of hospitality more broadly in different educational contexts, especially in terms of moves towards an ethics of hospitality, there is also a space for thinking about a pedagogy of hospitality, especially as it might be realised in contemporary higher education. Here, hospitality is experienced in the pedagogical moment – through conversation with others in which we are invited to welcome alterity. This reading of hospitality is richly illustrated in the American philosopher and essayist, Henry David Thoreau’s, celebrated work, Walden. Examples from Thoreau’s work show how the concept of hospitality might open up other ways of thinking about what it means to be with students in the contemporary university, and what possibilities for mutual education this concept might help realise.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Research Encyclopedia of Education
PublisherOxford Univesity Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780190264093
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Feb 2021


  • Hospitality
  • alterity
  • encounter
  • invitation
  • conversation
  • availability
  • Thoreau
  • Cavell
  • ethics
  • pedagogy


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