The Telegraph: Cambridge to ‘decolonise’ English literature
24 October, 2017
by Camilla Turner
“Cambridge University’s English Literature professors could replace white authors with black writers, following proposals put forward by academic staff in response to student demands to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum.
“For the first time, lecturers and tutors would 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.
“The University denies there are any plans to replace white authors with black ones.
“The move follows an open letter, penned by Lola Olufemi, Cambridge University Student Union’s women’s officer and signed by over 100 students, titled “Decolonising the English Faculty”.
“‘For too long, teaching English at Cambridge has encouraged a ‘traditional’ and ‘canonical’ approach that elevates white male authors at the expense of all others,’ the letter said.
“‘What we can no longer ignore, however, is the fact that the curriculum, taken as a whole, risks perpetuating institutional racism.’
“They said that they are not seeking to exclude white men from reading lists. However, adding new BME texts and topics could lead to existing authors being downgraded or dropped altogether, since there are no plans to lengthen courses to accommodate an expansion of reading materials.”
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