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Who Gets to Be Smart

Privilege, Power and Knowledge

Bri Lee

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Allen & Unwin
01 June 2021
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'Debate done with absolute verve, with eloquence and generosity' CHRISTOS TSIOLKAS, author of Damascus

'Fascinating, eye-opening . . . a sharp wake-up call' FLEX MAMI / LILLIAN AHENKAN, authors of The Success Experiment

'Thoughtful, surprising and exquisitely written. Bri Lee once again challenges us to confront the structures that shape, and restrict, our understanding of the world.' MADDISON CONNAUGHTON, editor of The Saturday Paper

In 2018 Bri Lee's brilliant young friend Damian is named a Rhodes Scholar, an apex of academic achievement. When she goes to visit him and takes a tour of Oxford and Rhodes House, she begins questioning her belief in a system she has previously revered, as she learns the truth behind what Virginia Woolf described almost a century earlier as the 'stream of gold and silver' that flows through elite institutions and dictates decisions about who deserves to be educated there. The question that forms in her mind drives the following two years of conversations and investigations: who gets to be smart?

Interrogating the adage, 'knowledge is power', and calling institutional prejudice to account, Bri once again dives into her own privilege and presumptions to bring us the stark and confronting results. Far from offering any 'equality of opportunity', Australia's education system exacerbates social stratification. The questions Bri asks of politics and society have their answers laid bare in the responses to the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, COVID-19, and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.
By:   Bri Lee
Imprint:   Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   378g
ISBN:   9781760879808
ISBN 10:   1760879800
Pages:   296
Publication Date:   01 June 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Bri Lee is a writer and editor whose work has been published in The Monthly, Harper's Bazaar Australia, The Saturday Paper, Crikey, The Guardian, Griffith Review, i-D, VAULT Art Magazine, and elsewhere. She regularly appears on The Drum on ABC TV, various ABC Radio National programs, and often gives talks on writing, law, feminism, fashion, pop culture, and art. As the Founding Editor of the quarterly print periodical Hot Chicks with Big Brains, Bri commissioned and published diverse non-fiction about women and their work from 2015 to 2018. Her first book, Eggshell Skull, was published by Allen & Unwin in June 2018. It was shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards in non-fiction, winning the 2019 People's Choice Award, and also won the 2018 People's Choice at the Nib Awards for research in writing, and the 2019 ABIA for Biography of the Year. Eggshell Skull has also been shortlisted for the 2019 Indie Book Awards and longlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize. In 2016 Bri was the recipient of the inaugural Kat Muscat Fellowship, and in 2017 was one of Griffith Review's Queensland writing fellows. In 2018 Bri received a Commonwealth Government of Australia scholarship and stipend to work on her second book at the University of Queensland. For this work she also received a Lord Mayor's Emerging Artist Fellowship to spend 4-6 weeks in New York City in early 2019. She has received numerous other fellowships, residencies, and mentorships, most recently the 2018 Premier's Young Publishers and Writers Award at the Queensland Literary Awards.

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