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Student forces Cambridge to drop white authors

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Orkrider2, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    So, this is all about a rebalancing act because one or two people feel that there is or has been an historical figures omission?
    Is that academically coherent?
     
  2. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    So why not discuss the topic of interest and the reasons for it not being available rather than the authors colour or ethnicity?
     
  3. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    The proposal is not to exclude white authors, as The Telegraph has now admitted, but to broaden the reading list to include all ethnicities with their distinct views. A German view is different from a Welsh view and so is a Nigerian view.
     
    needabreak and Moony like this.
  4. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    The point being made was that the almost exclusive reliance on British literature written by white men, is that it unintentionally becomes the yardstick by which other texts are deemed worthy or not. It subconsciously narrows the definition of British literature by presuming that the white male perspective can be considered a universal representative and thus the 'norm', forcing those that aren't white and male into a position where their gender and ethnicity are highlighted rather than incidental, and implying that they should be considered distinctly.
    The letter was merely asking that in the interest of academic rigour, and in acknowledgement that literature does not exist in a cultural vacuum and is rarely apolitical, efforts be made to extend the diversity of voices which are considered representative of British literature.
     
    Moony and emerald52 like this.
  5. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    Colour of the author is irrelevant, what is written is important. All of this smells of carefully veiled positive discrimination to promote certain authors.
     
    cellerdore and nomad like this.
  6. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    Horse behind the cart mentality. What do you need to read? Which books have that content. End of story.
     
    nomad likes this.
  7. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    Firstly it's not 'one or two' people. We are talking about a large section of society who have historically and even more recently had their experiences completely invalidated by being ignored. Whether or not everyone belonging to that group chooses to speak out about it is irrelevant; the fact that people at Oxford, Cambridge or any other Uni would like to discuss whether or not to broaden the curriculum to include more writers relevant to their personal experience of life should only be encouraged. Academic debate should include people's varied views and experiences rather than focussing on the narrow curriculum of the white, dead male. No one's arguing that Shakespeare shouldn't be studied, merely than alongside Shakespeare, we could also read a wider range of writers from the same time who may have a different perspective on society. By ignoring these texts, we not just implicitly say 'your view is not worthwhile because you are black/female/other' but impose our own views of what is worthy and what is not. Having only a white, male reading list can only therefore imply that only white male writers are worthy of study and that is not accurate or fair.

    Secondly, it's an academic debate so yes, it's academically coherent.
     
  8. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    Looks and sounds to me like some people want their studies to mirror their preferences rather than to improve their knowledge. That is NOT an academically sound practice but why spoil all that virtue signalling?
     
    Oscillatingass and nomad like this.
  9. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    Sorry, I think you are barking up the wrong tree. The literature required in any field of study will be inclined towards the curriculum and research requirements. If those are not the driving forces for reading materials that Universities provide/recommend then I would be very concerned about the quality of that course. If the individual student wants to widen that provision then surely they can do this through an academic justification if the author/book/material meets the required standard. The colour or ethnicity of the author is not relevant.
     
    nomad likes this.
  10. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    Education is not just about knowlege acquisition. We all have a cultural context and, exploring the world through the eyes of another is a way of broadening our outlook. Some may find that threatening or difficult.
     
    InkyP and needabreak like this.
  11. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    I'm not sure how inclusion of non-white authors alongside white authors counts as promotion of certain authors. As has been stated before, no one has suggested any author be replaced.

    The problem with presuming that having a curriculum that relies entirely on the literature of white authors, while maintaining texts are only selected on the basis of the importance of their content, it implies that only white authors are writing anything important and by extension, white perspectives are the only ones worthy of academic study. The students who signed the open letter disagree and would welcome the opportunity to look at post-colonial writing particularly in deeper cultural context by including perspectives from non-white authors.
     
    Moony likes this.
  12. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Education is what remains once all the other rubbish you learned at school, college and university has been forgotten.
     
    Laphroig, emerald52 and lexus300 like this.
  13. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    Studying for your degree is about knowledge acquisition alongside critical reviewing of accepted wisdom and hopefully extending or improving or clarifying or developing knowledge. It has nothing to do with texts written by writers who are white or coloured or of different ethnicities. The results from your degree studies should reflect the aims and objectives of the course. All of this focus on colour or ethnicity is a learning distraction unless your degree has a focus on colour or ethnicity in which case no doubt reading materials are provided from the best authors, regardless of colour or ethnicity.
     
  14. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    Um, that sounds exactly the opposite of academic rigour. The content almost always needs to be examined in the context of who was writing it, in what time, for what purpose. Ignoring the fact that all studied texts come from one relatively homogenous section of society seems to be promoting the restriction of academic thought rather than promoting it.
     
    Moony, sabrinakat and emerald52 like this.
  15. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    Would they welcome purchasing the literature for themselves? That might be a test of their sincerity.
     
  16. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    Read post #33.
     
  17. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    OK

    Would you not agree that having a wider variety of viewpoints and perspectives would help encourage students to challenge their accepted understandings, critically review their assumptions, and acquire, clarify and develop their knowledge?

    It's talking about an English literature degree. Considering our British history, wouldn't you expect there to be at least some consideration of post-colonial literature, which is inexorably entwined with discussions about race and ethnicity and national identity? Anything else would seem to be ignoring a huge chunk of our history and the impact it has had on our society, and so not really reflecting the aims and objectives of the course, no?
     
    Moony likes this.
  18. elledriver

    elledriver Lead commenter

    Isn't English Literature about literature written in English, rather than in a specific location?
     
    Oscillatingass and lexus300 like this.
  19. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    Definitely.
     
  20. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    For me the operative words are English Literature and within that context I see little to justify discussion on race and ethnicity or indeed national identity of the authors of English literature. I would argue that it is the actual literature that must/should be discussed. If the degree was on British history or on our colonial past then authors with experience pertinent to those broad headers would have to be in the mix.
    I come back to my initial thoughts on this, the colour, race or ethnicity of the author is of very minor importance in comparison to the actual literature produced. To expect anything other than that is a dilution of academic integrity IMO.
     
    Oscillatingass likes this.

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