Al Jazeera: UK students push for more non-white thinkers on courses
13 January 2017
by Shafik Mandhai
“London, England – Students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) have launched a campaign to include more African and non-European thinkers on their courses.
“The ‘Decolonising SOAS’ campaign aims to address a dearth in non-European thinkers on the institute’s curriculum and to more critically examine European thinkers and their ideas on race.
“Administrators at the college, which is part of the University of London, have welcomed the drive to review the content on its programmes and are working with academics and students to look at what changes can be brought in.
“‘We’re called the School of African and Oriental Studies, so it makes sense that we include more thinkers from the regions we teach,’ said Ali Habib, co-president at SOAS students’ union and one of the activists leading the campaign.
“‘In one course, Introduction to Political Theory, we had 28 thinkers and philosophers, of whom only two, [Mahatma] Gandhi and Frantz Fanon, were not white,’ he added.
“The campaign has broad backing from students, with up to 900 attending events in support of the initiative.
“Undergraduate politics student Halimo Hussain told Al Jazeera that including more non-white thinkers would enrich her studies.
“‘A diversity of thinkers is a necessary step in broadening our world view,’ she said, adding: ‘Whiteness is seen as so neutral within academia that when we question the relevance or importance of white thinkers it’s met with resistance by those who benefit from the status quo.'”