The Decolonized Curriculum (1 Viewer)

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Roofgardener

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I came across an interesting story last week, and one that seems to have polarised academia.

Leicester University is proposing changes to its English Degree. It is planning to axe all English Language courses, and abolish Medieval Literature, in favour of courses on race, sexuality and diversity.
This means dropping Chaucer , and also the poem Beowulf.

Chaucer is widely regarded as being "the Father of English literature", on a par with Shakespeare, , and Beowulf as being the most important poem in Old English literature.

This is all in the name of 'diversity' and - to quote the university - "de-colonizing the curriculum".


I'm absolutely astounded. This is the equivalent - I would imagine - of an American University deciding to drop all courses on the War of Independence, or the founding fathers, or the signing of the declaration, from their American Studies curriculum ?

Do you have any of this bizzare nonsense in the USA ?
 

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I came across an interesting story last week, and one that seems to have polarised academia.

Leicester University is proposing changes to its English Degree. It is planning to axe all English Language courses, and abolish Medieval Literature, in favour of courses on race, sexuality and diversity.
This means dropping Chaucer , and also the poem Beowulf.

Chaucer is widely regarded as being "the Father of English literature", on a par with Shakespeare, , and Beowulf as being the most important poem in Old English literature.

This is all in the name of 'diversity' and - to quote the university - "de-colonizing the curriculum".


I'm absolutely astounded. This is the equivalent - I would imagine - of an American University deciding to drop all courses on the War of Independence, or the founding fathers, or the signing of the declaration, from their American Studies curriculum ?

Do you have any of this bizzare nonsense in the USA ?
Oh for the love of... no. No. And no. This is, yet again, wildly misleading.

Leicester University is trying to make cuts. They want to make staff redundant. And English Language, and especially Medieval Literature, is all too often one of the soft targets that's first in line when that happens. It has, in actuality, nothing to do with 'diversity' or 'decolonization' behind their management's ill-judged attempts to use that as an excuse. Nor does it have anything to do with student feedback, which also wouldn't support that. No-one is calling for Chaucer to be removed in the name of diversity or decolonisation (which wouldn't even make sense, as anyone with an understanding of Chaucer and what decolonisation is should know).

As for 'polarised academia', no, academics largely oppose cuts to departments unsurprisingly enough. They also, incidentally, tend to oppose the university's weak excuses being, to quote one example, "reprehensibly manipulated & exploited by racists & conservatives".

And as someone who works in academia, I've seen literally no support for removing Chaucer, and plenty of opposition to it.

Bottom line, in reality, this is a story about a university being mismanaged into crisis and trying to cut its way out of it.

Could you just, y'know, stop posting MailOnline type takes on things? Or at least try and read around them from other more balanced sources first? This is a politics forum, not an "endless debunking of ill-informed UK right-wing tabloid press hot takes" forum. I realise there's some overlap, but it's becoming a theme.
 
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Roofgardener

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Oh for the love of... no. No. And no. This is, yet again, wildly misleading.

Leicester University is trying to make cuts. They want to make staff redundant. And English Language, and especially Medieval Literature, is all too often one of the soft targets that's first in line when that happens. It has, in actuality, nothing to do with 'diversity' or 'decolonization' behind their management's ill-judged attempts to use that as an excuse. Nor does it have anything to do with student feedback, which also wouldn't support that. No-one is calling for Chaucer to be removed in the name of diversity or decolonisation (which wouldn't even make sense, as anyone with an understanding of Chaucer and what decolonisation is should know).

As for 'polarised academia', no, academics largely oppose cuts to departments unsurprisingly enough. They also, incidentally, tend to oppose the university's weak excuses being, to quote one example, "reprehensibly manipulated & exploited by racists & conservatives".

And as someone who works in academia, I've seen literally no support for removing Chaucer, and plenty of opposition to it.

Bottom line, in reality, this is a story about a university being mismanaged into crisis and trying to cut its way out of it.

Could you just, y'know, stop posting MailOnline type takes on things? Or at least try and read around them from other more balanced sources first? This is a politics forum, not an "endless debunking of ill-informed UK right-wing tabloid press hot takes" forum. I realise there's some overlap, but it's becoming a theme.
Well EXUUUUUUSE ME. But it was THE UNIVERSITY that stated, publicly, that the axing of English Language teaching, and the removal of Chaucer et al from the curriculum, was down to 'decolonization of the curriculum'. I didn't make that up, and neither did the Mail.
 

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Well EXUUUUUUSE ME. But it was THE UNIVERSITY that stated, publicly, that the axing of English Language teaching, and the removal of Chaucer et al from the curriculum, was down to 'decolonization of the curriculum'. I didn't make that up, and neither did the Mail.
What they've publicly stated is the opposite, as even the article you linked to makes clear. I mean, its headline is literally "Leicester University denies it is dropping Chaucer for being ‘too white’ under proposals" so you could hardly have missed it. So given that, no, I don't think I'll excuse you.

What you appear to be referring to is the internal emails the Telegraph reported on initially, with the Mail then running with it, but those also don't say that they're making those cuts in order to 'decolonize the curriculum'. Just that that is part of what they'd be offering in the future having made a bunch of cuts. But, as should be obvious with a moment's thought, since it's clearly not necessarily to fire people or stop teaching English Language or Chaucer in order to 'decolonise' a curriculum, what they're actually doing is trying to save money, and dressing it up as offering something 'better'. Which clearly it isn't. But they're hardly going to say, "We're cutting this because we think students will still pay us the same for something cheaper."

I mean, Leicester is also looking to make a load of pure mathematicians redundant supposedly in the name of 'shaping for excellence', but I'm sure you realise that it's neither necessary nor desirable to ditch pure mathematical research for 'excellence'. Right?

But even putting that aside for a moment, let me put it this way: you began your thread by saying that this seems to have 'polarised academia' so you have, presumably, seen a number of academics, staff, students, etc., calling for the removal of Chaucer in order to decolonise curriculums. Who? Where? Link to some of them.

And if it turns out you haven't seen any such thing, why, exactly, did you think academia seemed to have been polarised on this?
 
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What they've publicly stated is the opposite, as even the article you linked to makes clear. I mean, its headline is literally "Leicester University denies it is dropping Chaucer for being ‘too white’ under proposals" so you could hardly have missed it. So given that, no, I don't think I'll excuse you.

What you appear to be referring to is the internal emails the Telegraph reported on initially, with the Mail then running with it, but those also don't say that they're making those cuts in order to 'decolonize the curriculum'. Just that that is part of what they'd be offering in the future having made a bunch of cuts. But, as should be obvious with a moment's thought, since it's clearly not necessarily to fire people or stop teaching English Language or Chaucer in order to 'decolonise' a curriculum, what they're actually doing is trying to save money, and dressing it up as offering something 'better'. Which clearly it isn't. But they're hardly going to say, "We're cutting this because we think students will still pay us the same for something cheaper."

I mean, Leicester is also looking to make a load of pure mathematicians redundant supposedly in the name of 'shaping for excellence', but I'm sure you realise that it's neither necessary nor desirable to ditch pure mathematical research for 'excellence'. Right?

But even putting that aside for a moment, let me put it this way: you began your thread by saying that this seems to have 'polarised academia' so you have, presumably, seen a number of academics, staff, students, etc., calling for the removal of Chaucer in order to decolonise curriculums. Who? Where? Link to some of them.

And if it turns out you haven't seen any such thing, why, exactly, did you think academia seemed to have been polarised on this?
So you know what I have, and havn't, seen ? Or are you telling me that I havn't seen what you don't want to be revealed ?

 

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So you know what I have, and havn't, seen ? Or are you telling me that I havn't seen what you don't want to be revealed ?

OK, first, please, do elaborate on "What you don't want to be revealed". What do you think that is, exactly, and what you basing that on?

Secondly, I'm telling you that you have seen Leicester University publicly denying dropping Chaucer for being "too white" - because you linked to just that to start the thread - and that you haven't cited a single academic calling for the removal of Chaucer in order to 'decolonise the curriculum', let alone shown enough of them to justify a claim of academic 'polarisation'. Because you haven't.

The article you've just linked also makes it pretty clear that academics oppose the cuts and that they aren't necessary to 'decolonise the curriculum'. The embedded resignation letter from Professor Catherine Clarke (this one) sums that up quite well (and states that, "It is been horrifying to see how the University's glib, fraudulent use of the language of decolonisation has been seized upon by racists").

Again, it's very clear that Leicester's cuts are driven by a desire to save money, not by an actual goal to achieve 'excellence' or 'decolonise the curriculum', in the context of both of which Leicester's cuts are nonsensical.

So at this point, I have to ask why you're so unwilling to accept what is so very clear, including from your own sources?
 
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Roofgardener

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OK, first, please, do elaborate on "What you don't want to be revealed". What do you think that is, exactly, and what you basing that on?

Secondly, I'm telling you that you have seen Leicester University publicly denying dropping Chaucer for being "too white" - because you linked to just that to start the thread - and that you haven't cited a single academic calling for the removal of Chaucer in order to 'decolonise the curriculum', let alone shown enough of them to justify a claim of academic 'polarisation'. Because you haven't.

The article you've just linked also makes it pretty clear that academics oppose the cuts and that they aren't necessary to 'decolonise the curriculum'. The embedded resignation letter from Professor Catherine Clarke (this one) sums that up quite well (and states that, "It is been horrifying to see how the University's glib, fraudulent use of the language of decolonisation has been seized upon by racists").

Again, it's very clear that Leicester's cuts are driven by a desire to save money, not by an actual goal to achieve 'excellence' or 'decolonise the curriculum', in the context of both of which Leicester's cuts are nonsensical.

So at this point, I have to ask why you're so unwilling to accept what is so very clear, including from your own sources?
The article DID have that in its title.. but it was just the first one that I came across that discussed the event. You'll note that I didn't use that phrase in MY opening post ? And Leicester University HAS formally stated a desire to 'decolonise the curriculum'. After all, Maths and Physics are racist, dontcha know ? :p

Leicester Univerisity may well have had an economic motive to do this, but it has couched the change in the language of Woke, and deserves to be lambasted for it.
 

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