Dr. Michael Woolf

Michael's unique role at CAPA takes him around the world to conferences as a frequent presenter and attendee. He serves on a number of boards and committees, including the Curriculum Committee of the Forum on Education Abroad, the Editorial Boards of Frontiers and the Journal of Studies in International Education, EAIE’s Knowledge Development Task Force, and Braun Stiftung für Internationalen Austausch. He has written widely and has published extensively on international education and cultural studies. Most recently, he published work aimed at critically reviewing the core assumptions of study abroad. 'Thoughts on Education Abroad' is a monthly column of short essays sharing his thoughts and expertise on the subject.

Recent Posts

What Do Libraries Mean?

Apr 9, 2019 10:19:00 AM / by Dr. Michael Woolf

"Thoughts on Education Abroad" is a monthly column written by CAPA The Global Education Network's Deputy President and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Michael Woolf.

---

In this month's column, Dr. Mike Woolf focuses on the importance of libraries as an exploratory establishment and space for preservation of knowledge, themes, politics, and stories. He also discusses the physical and ideological impressions of libraries and its utility for public use, education, and intellectual discourse. 

Continue Reading

Posted in: London, England, International Education

In Search of Wisdom

Mar 12, 2019 10:10:00 AM / by Dr. Michael Woolf

"Thoughts on Education Abroad" is a monthly column written by CAPA The Global Education Network's Deputy President and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Michael Woolf.

---

In this month's column, Dr. Mike Woolf examines the ways and reasons people search for wisdom. Be it through a pilgrimage or personal travels, education is available on various cultures and ready to be sought out. He also details significant points in religious history and its revelations on wisdom.

Continue Reading

Posted in: London, England, International Education

The London Breed

Feb 12, 2019 10:20:00 AM / by Dr. Michael Woolf

Exceptional City

London is a modern Babylon.
–Benjamin Disraeli (1847)

Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner
That I love London so I get a funny feeling inside of me
Just walking up and down
Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner
That I love London town.
—Hubert Gregg (1953)

The assertion that “London is not England” is, of course, literally true. Like all cities, borders distinguish, to some degree or another, urban, suburban, and rural space. However, the assertion contains a coded message beyond geography; there is an “authentic” England from which London deviates. Negative implications suggest that the city distorts and corrupts traditions designated as representative of “real” England.

An alternative perspective relates London to a cluster of other cities that transcend conventional ideas of national identity. These cities are, in one sense or another, “global”; Sydney, New York, Shanghai, Barcelona, Florence, Dublin, and so on represent characteristics that transcend the local. They form a contested terrain where myths coexist with realities, where civilizations meet, and where diversity brings creative and intellectual energy, and conflict. They are within the geographic nation but are not constrained by those borders.

Continue Reading

Posted in: London, England, Why Study Abroad

On the Attractions of Studying Abroad in Europe

Jan 15, 2019 2:41:00 PM / by Dr. Michael Woolf

What is Europe?

Europe is not just geographical space. Defining Europe by geography is complex, contested, and controversial. Russia and Turkey are within and without. The British use the term the “Continent” to mean everywhere in Europe except Britain. We should also recall the headline that may or may not have appeared in The Times when Britain was enjoying Imperial pomp (and when “Great Britain” was not irony): “Fog over the Channel. Europe cut off.”

Continue Reading

Posted in: London, England, International Education

Making Time

Dec 18, 2018 2:30:00 PM / by Dr. Michael Woolf

By the early 14th century…in textile manufacturing towns like Ypres… workers found themselves regulated not by the flow of activity or the seasons but by a new kind of time – abstract, linear, repetitive… work time was measured by the town’s bells, which rang at the beginning and end of each shift.
—Ray Patel, Jason Moore, “The True Cost of Cheap Food,” The Guardian, 8 May 2018.

Continue Reading

Posted in: International Education, Study Abroad, History Abroad

Colonialism, Post-Colonialism and Postcolonialism: What It Means for Education Abroad

Dec 4, 2018 8:35:09 AM / by Dr. Michael Woolf

History and Metaphor

Discussions of colonialism and its legacies are rarely conducted in an ethos of reasoned neutrality. In the midst of the passion and turmoil that marks the discourse, it is possible to discern two distinctive narratives.

The first is historical. In that context, the focus is on the imposition of European control over “less developed” regions and nations for approximately 80 years, broadly from the 1880s to the 1960s. The primary colonial powers were European. Geographically, while there were many colonized regions, much of the debate centers around Africa. The primary example of a colonial power is Great Britain, probably because it was the most dominant and long-lived. Post-colonialism refers to the subsequent emergence of independent nations, often following prolonged liberation struggles, in the 1950s and 60s.

Continue Reading

Posted in: International Education, Study Abroad, History Abroad, Politics

"I'll Kill You": Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, and Memory

Nov 29, 2018 4:03:39 PM / by Dr. Michael Woolf

Blue-Remembered Hills

The playwright Dennis Potter (1935 – 1994) associated the idea of nostalgia for childhood with “blue-remembered hills”: a metaphor for locations distant in time that are formed and reformed in our memories. The notion of “blue-remembered hills” precisely captures the process of reconstruction through which we selectively revisit days long ago and the people who populated that dreamed space. We invest the past with colors that are emotionally, if not literally, true.

Continue Reading

Posted in: International Education, Study Abroad, History Abroad

Wearing the Poppy: Poetry and the First World War

Nov 9, 2018 2:36:00 PM / by Dr. Michael Woolf

What we remember

The ending of the First World War (1914- 1918) will be widely commemorated on November 11th  2018. It was a global conflict that began and ended in Africa; thirty per cent of the British troops served on the Eastern Front. The conflict reshaped the international environment.  Old monarchies failed. The Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman Empires collapsed. New countries in Europe and the Middle East emerged from the ruins including Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Trans-Jordan. The consequences of that war are still part of our global political landscape.

Continue Reading

Posted in: International Education, History Abroad, Cultural Insights

Talking About My Generation

Oct 30, 2018 2:30:00 PM / by Dr. Michael Woolf

Well, people try to put us down.
Talkin' bout my generation.
Just because we get around.
I'm not trying to cause a big sensation.
I'm just talkin' bout my generation.

—The Who (written by Marley, Carter, Jones etc.)

The idea that being born at a particular point in time creates some kind of collective identity is a relatively recent invention. The idea of a “generation” only came to be used to distinguish the younger from the older in the early 20th century. As an arbitrary means of interpreting historical change, it implies that those born within a given period are invested with distinctive behavioral traits. Sarah Laskow argued that “Societal generations are a relatively modern idea, hit upon by 19th century European intellectuals and refined in the beginning of the 20th century.” The idea of the generation offers a mechanism by which we impose some kind of pattern upon history: a model defined by age conflict.

Continue Reading

Posted in: International Education, Study Abroad, Cultural Insights

All That Jazz

Oct 11, 2018 4:30:00 PM / by Dr. Michael Woolf

The Attraction of the Jazz Joints

By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn't want your daughter to associate with.
—Duke Ellington

Jazz is the language of the emotions.
—Charles Mingus

I spent a good deal of my mildly reprehensible youth listening to jazz in places where I was not supposed to be—predominantly in Soho in Central London. From about the age of 14, in the early 1960s, I began a lifelong love affair with jazz—not just the sounds but with the places in which it was played and the people who played it.

Soho has become gentrified in these days and few of the old, smoky subterranean jazz joints remain; none of them are smoky now of course and most have become boutiques or perfume shops—ironically sweet fragrances have replaced the heady mixture of sweat and tobacco. The most famous is Ronnie Scott’s jazz club but it has been deformed into a corporate “venue” for tourists and visiting business types (but at least it’s there, even if hideously expensively and much altered in ethos). These were refuges from respectability.

Continue Reading

Posted in: International Education, Study Abroad, History Abroad

Previous

All posts