Occupying a space in-between conventional scholarship and imaginative storytelling, The University in Crumbs: A Register of Things Seen and Heard is an experimental work that dramatizes the everyday life of the academy. Consisting primarily of a series of five first-person reports, Robert Porter, Kerry-Ann Porter and Iain Mackenzie provide the reader with a number of stories that attempt to capture some of their everyday experiences of academic life in the UK, roughly between 2017 and 2022.
Self-consciously written in a subjective and conversational register, and often in dialogical form, The University in Crumbs is an accessible series of interrelated narratives that allow us to develop a concrete sense of the grain, texture and feel for what it might be like to work in the academy at a specific point in time. These stories, first-person reports, dialogues, come alive, acquire their meaning, force and pragmatic effect by way of a rather unique circumlocutory form. There is a directedness to the everyday talk engaged in by Robert, Kerry-Ann and Iain that nonetheless, simultaneously, indirectly loops in and out of a kind of technical academic talk that provides the book its light and shade.
University in Crumbs is an experimental work that implicitly and explicitly animates philosophy, social, cultural and political theory through first-person experiences and, in so doing, breathes new life into what can often otherwise remain rather conventional and technical academic language-games. More than that, this book dramatizes ideas and concepts in ways perhaps less burdened by the weight of canonical tradition, and encourages those readers with the talent to portray their social world differently to be more licentious and less bashful in putting such talents to work.