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Student forces Cambridge to drop white authors

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

  1. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    I imagine the assessment of worthwhile texts is extremely subjective and value laden so decisions about what is studied is fair game for questioning or criticism.
    emerald52 likes this.
  2. elledriver

    elledriver Lead commenter

    English Lit is one of those hobby degrees that relates to the subject of the another thread
    "Only half of UK garaduates end up working in their chosen field of study"
  3. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    People with the money and status that comes from being privileged have the time to dick about and do some of these experiments. Some times other people have been able to get in on the act but it's mostly been white guys.

    And to be clear I'm talking about the development of scientific knowledge over the last few hundred years or so, things have not been so bad over more recent history.
    emerald52 likes this.
  4. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    Maybe, maybe not. Worthy of consideration though. Which is all they're asking people do.
    emerald52 likes this.
  5. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    Someone who is not part of an ethnic minority doesn't have the experience of being one. I thought that would be obvious.
  6. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    All choices are political. What is studied and what is left out is a political decision. All totalitarian regimes control the curriculum. English literature should include literature written in English which means Australian, Nigerian, American, Jamaican, Indian and Canadian books.
  7. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I would say so.
  8. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Maybe it would be clearer if English literature was renamed British literature to separate the language from the country of origin. As I understand it English literature is literature from England rather than literature in English.

    There is such a thing as American literature and Canadian literature too, and many others.
    Oscillatingass and nomad like this.
  9. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Alternatively, you could argue that Of Mice and men (and all good literature) can give you layers of meaning and understanding without having to go and study the period.
    Oscillatingass likes this.
  10. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    It is surprising that reading lists would still be dominated by white males. Students and staff alike have been interrogating the idea of the canon and "dead white males" for decades. It's a while since I did my EngLit degree but we covered a pretty diverse range of authors.
  11. theworm123

    theworm123 Lead commenter

    It's the not the first example of students with an agenda, abusing a position of power for personal gain.
  12. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    Or even
    Orkrider2 likes this.
  13. Oscillatingass

    Oscillatingass Star commenter

    I wonder if the students in question were the type who when at school would keep saying to their exasperated teachers "Why are we doing this?"
  14. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    The spirit of academic enquiry is a wonderful thing.
    Passing them a copy of the curriculum would usually work because it bored them into silence (albeit briefly)
  15. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    Are the "why are we doing this?" students the type that usually gets into Cambridge then?
  16. Oscillatingass

    Oscillatingass Star commenter

    I don't know. I was wondering. What do you think?
  17. Ellakits

    Ellakits Occasional commenter

    I remember a few years ago, working in a primary school, we had a visitor come in to do an assembly for Black History Month. He told the school that he was going to show them how important black people had been to western history, and how different our lives would be if they had never existed. He pointed out that although it is well known that traffic lights were invented by a black man, other notable black inventors have been whitewashed from history.

    His assembly followed the format of a story. He made it clear that the story was fictional, but all the people mentioned were real and that their achievements were also real, and that the children could look them up on the internet if they wanted more detail.

    The assembly was enjoyable and informative and my class were keen to find out when these great inventions had been made. We made a list of the things and people he'd mentioned and looked them up.

    Unfortunately, we found out that his claim that black people had invented the lawnmower, the fountain pen, the light bulb, the telephone and the hairbrush wasn't exactly true. There had instead been black people either on the inventing team or who had made significant improvements in the years following the initial invention. In the case of the hairbrush it was a cushion for the bristles, in the fountain pen it was to do with the ink feed system. The only invention he correctly claimed to have been made by a black person was the traffic light.

    Unfortunately the visitors method of conveying this information failed spectacularly with the class. They were left with the impression that he'd tried to give them 'alternative facts' and he wasn't to be trusted. The two black kids in the class were the loudest critics of all and said he'd lied to them.

    It is an uncomfortable truth that most of the inventions lauded in the west in the last 200 years were made by white men, for all the reasons other people have listed. This will obviously change in the next 200 years as women and ethnic minorities have greater academic opportunities in the west than ever before. But it doesn't, and shouldn't, change historical fact.
    Oscillatingass likes this.
  18. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    No idea. I teach primary so I don't have any info about where any of my previous students have ended up after A levels.
  19. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    When you are dealing with a generation of snowflakes who demand 'safe spaces', who see 'micro-aggression' in any word or gesture which shows a disagreement with their views and who consider Jazz Hands to be a viable alternative to applause, who knows?
  20. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    An interesting point of view, I wonder how many authors and English teachers agree that it is a "hobby degree". Can you provide a list of "hobby degrees", what is a degree called when it is not a "hobby degree"?

    When I think of a hobby, I think of making model planes, gardening, knitting and crocheting, perhaps basket weaving, whittling, cycling, paragliding and the like, I am not sure I understand the apparent terminology, did you make it up or is it a thing now?

    How does your point of view in this regard relate to the OP? I am afraid you have lost me.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
    Oscillatingass likes this.

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