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Humanities in academia: The glass beads game ………….

Another feature in the young (and not only young) people in today’s Russia is their (or our) political apathy. Out of one hundred students barely 10 will be at least mildly interested in politics. Whatever the causes this apathy has to be dealt with despite the fact that government and university officials frown upon attempts at independent political activity of more or less any kind. There are quite many books on the issue but they are so serious that in them things either look like ideological propaganda which provokes idiosyncratic reaction – or appear to be totally hopeless which is maybe even worse. With Pratchett’s ‘Guards! Guards!’ it as possible to talk not only about political matters, but also about the good and evil in people. Pratchett’s brilliant formulas stick in memory and give food for thought and, I believe may really influence one’s behavior, provided that attention has been timely drawn to them: ‘people who will follow any dragon…’

So, from Pratchett’s books we can move in three directions: 1) philosophical; 2) political; 3) literary (involving the above and a lot of other things as well).

Suprun, T. (2011). Humanities in academia: The glass beads game, a breakthrough to the ultimate reality (whatever it means) or following the curriculum?. International Journal of Arts & Sciences, CD-ROM. ISSN: 1944-6934 :: 4(18):65–75


“We Cooperate, or We Die”

“”The Amazing Maurice” is a fantastic book that we all enjoyed as a book and also an audio tape, and the character of Darktan, the focus of the painting is one wonderful rat character.” (Jackie Morris)

Oziewicz, M. C. (2009). “We cooperate, or we die”: Sustainable Coexistence in Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. Children’s Literature in Education, 40, 85-94.

This article examines Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice as a modern example of environmentally informed social dreaming about sustainable coexistence. In our increasingly ecologically-conscious world sustainability and coexistence have become key words in the discourse about social, economic and political relations. The problem of relating to what lies beyond the human, however, remains a challenge. This article argues that this problem is central to Pratchett’s novel, making it a serious commentary on ecoliteracy and ecodesign. The Amazing Maurice, it is claimed, is a work with a transformative purpose. It suggests that cooperation and coexistence are workable beyond what we assume to be their limits.

The entire article can be bought via Springer


Teaching resources for The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents

New Windmills – 2004 – Resource sheets –
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents

By Terry Pratchett
Activities by Alan Pearce

© Harcourt Education Limited, 2004

The following pages consist of teacher’s notes and classroom resource sheets for The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett.

These pages can be downloaded and printed out as required. This material may be freely copied for institutional use. However, this material is copyright and under no circumstances can copies be offered for sale. The publishers gratefully acknowledge permission to reproduce copyright material.

Study Areas

This is a very entertaining novel, with some extremely amusing moments. However, there are also dark moments when, for example, some of the educated rodents are killed. The novel will definitely encourage students to consider their attitude towards animals. Possible areas for study include:

Persuasive writing: Write Maurice’s speech to Bad Blintz’s town council, persuading them that rats should be treated as equals. …

Creative writing: Imagine a pet could record his or her thoughts. What would they think of their owners? …

Informative writing: Write an article for a nature magazine, about the educated rodents found in Bad Blintz. …

Independent research/information writing: Produce a leaflet about keeping rats as pets. …

Personal view: Who would you identify as the hero of the novel? …

Group discussion/presentation: Imagine you are members of the Bad Blintz town council. Debate the advantages and disadvantages of treating the educated rodents as equals. …

Collaborative drama: Dramatise significant scenes from the novel: …

This material is found at Pearsons Schools and FE Colleges

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