Cambridge University caves to student demands to ‘decolonise’ English curriculum

Cambridge University caves to student demands to ‘decolonise’ English curriculum, by Camilla Turner.

Cambridge University’s English Literature professors will be forced to replace white authors with black writers, under new proposals put forward by academic staff following student demands to “decolonise” the curriculum.

For the first time, lecturers and tutors will have to “ensure the presence” of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) writers on their course, under plans discussed by the English Faculty’s Teaching Forum. …

A critic of the move:

Gill Evans, emeritus professor of medieval theology and intellectual history at Cambridge University, said there are some “major problems” with this approach.

“It goes with the calls to stop teaching predominantly Western or European history as well as literature,” she said.

“If you distort the content of history and literature syllabuses to insert a statistically diverse or equal proportion of material from cultures taken globally you surely lose sight of the historical truth that the West explored the world from the sixteenth century and took control – colonially or otherwise – of a very large part of it. It is false to pretend that never happened.”

She pointed out that any literature that is added to the syllabus “for the sake of an artificial balance” will have to be “largely in translation for monoglot English students so it will itself be distorted”. …

Isn’t treating authors on the basis of their skin color — rather than solely on the content of what they write — racist and anti-meritocratic? It certainly smacks of identity politics. And isn’t English a language of, you know, whites?

The female student behind the campaign to “decolonise” the Cambridge University’s English degree has previously said that white people who go on holidays to Africa are “inherently selfish”.

Lola Olufemi, the women’s officer of Cambridge University Student Union, wrote the open letter which prompted the English Faculty’s discussion about the curriculum at their recent Teaching Forum meeting.

The English graduate, who grew up in north London, has claimed that students who go on gap year programmes that involve doing aid work in Africa are guilty of “fetishising” the African culture.

Sounds like a power grab in the here and now, based on the identity and birthright of those now grabbing power, not based on their merit or actions. Sad that our institutions are acquiescing so easily to these illiberal power seekers.

hat-tip Stephen Neil