- A History of Higher Education in Canada 1663–1960 by Robin S. Harris, and: Precepts, Policy and Process: Perspectives on Contemporary Canadian Education ed. by Hugh A. Stevenson and J. Donald Wilson, and: The University: The Anatomy of Academe by Murray G. Ross, and: On the Idea of a University by J.M. Cameron (review)
- University of Toronto Quarterly
- University of Toronto Press
- Volume 47, Number 4, Summer 1978
- pp. 483-487
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- Additional Information
HUMANITIES 483 Legault combines law, language, and philosophy in an impressive way. For a linguist the legal discussions are at times slightly overwhelming , and presumably the same holds when law specialists are faced with the linguistic problems that Legault discusses. He limits himself here to English-language sources and does not mention the work done in the area of performative, illocutionary, and perlocutionary speech acts by the Parisian scholar Oswald Ducrot. English quotations predominate in the philosophical and theoretical law passages, but French is the main language in the third section. A recurring German example in which sprechen is opposed to versprechen puzzles me, and I think that sprecllen should be replaced by sagen. But I may be wrong, as the example introduces somebody who does not speak German very well. In any case, the lack of clarity in this very minor detail is mentioned only because it is a rare exception, in this interesting study of more than five hundred pages, that addresses itself to linguists and lawyers alike. It may be that by straddling these fields it will satisfy neither group of readers completely. (HENRY G. SCHOGT) Robin S. Harris. A History of Higher Education in Cmzada 1663-1960 University of Toronto Press 1976. xxiv, 715- $37·50 Hugh A. Stevenson and J .Donald Wilson, editors. Precepts, Policy and Process; Perspectives on Contemporary Canadian Education Alexander, Blake Associates. xv, 354- $8·95 Murray G. Ross. The University: The Allatomy of Academe McGraw-Hill Ryerson 1976. xii, 310. $13.95 J.M. Cameron. On the Idea of a University University of Toronto Press 1978. xiii, 92. $10.00 cloth, $3.95 paper Educational policy is a subject on which nearly everybody has an opinion :it will always warm up conversation at a dinner party. Like architecture , education is something practised by professionals whose mistakes as well as successes we all live with. The layman's interest in education is not surprising when one reflects that over half the typical municipal budget is spent on it, or that in Canada and the United States fully a third of the population is attending school of some sort. The four books on education which comprise this review are, therefore, to the extent that they are readable, books for everyone. Of the four, decidedly the most ponderous is Robin S. Harris's A History ofHigher Education in Canada 1663 -1960. Harris, a member of the Higher Education Group at the University of Toronto, gives us a survey of nearly three centuries, an ambitious project both in its implied 484 LETTERS IN CANADA 1977 breadth and in its detail. The volume represents the harvesting - if not the distillation - of eighteen years of research and travel; and as an assiduous bibliographer of higher education Harris has at his command and under full control the primary documentation for this massive survey . Yet, even in seven hundred pages one cannot cover every aspect of higher education in a country as large as Canada for a period as long as three centuries. The title is, therefore, more comprehensive than the book itself. Harris has chosen to limit his topic in two ways. First, he gives not a continuous narrative but a sequence of five cross-sections of Canadian universities at five points in time: 1860, 1890, 1920, 1940, and 1960. Just as the movement of a motion picture is supplied by the brain of the viewer who sees successive stiU images flash on the screen, so also any continuity in Harris's history emerges from the reader's mind as he compares Harris's five 'still' snapshots. It takes either a persistent rummaging or a retentive memory to distill a diachronic narrative out of the five synchronic sections of the book; I found myself taking a theme, such as research journals or one of the professions, and looking up the material on that theme in each of the five sections. To Harris's credit the material was there; but his is a book that many a user will want to consult rather than read straight through. Harris's second self-imposed limitation is in a way more serious. Using official calendars and reports, he has given us the...