Western universities are fixed on a course that denies white students knowledge of the literature, art, and achievements of Western culture, focusing only on its alleged racism and collection of evils ascribed to “whiteness,” while teaching the students the culture and literature of other people.
As this headline in the British Telegraph puts it, “Universities drop Chaucer and Shakespeare as ‘decolonization’ takes root. Many British universities have sought to liberate their courses from ‘white, Western and Eurocentric’ knowledge”
To “decolonize the curriculum” means to deracinate it, to remove white ethnicities from their cultures. In other words, to dissolve Western civilization. This is now the main function of a university education. White students are to be isolated from their heritage by withholding knowledge of it, thus leaving white peoples without any sense of themselves. Kept ignorant of their heritage by the evicting of “whiteness,” they will only be taught the cultures of others. In other words, this is a chosen policy of cultural genocide via deracination.
What then is the purpose of national security, defense departments, intelligence services? With universities busy at work destroying a people’s concept of themselves, what do deracinated people rise in defense of?
The enemies of the Western world are its own universities, not foreign powers.
From the Telegram’s report:
By Craig Simpson
27 August 2022
William Shakespeare’s sonnets are now less likely to be included in British university curricula
Arriving on campus this autumn, students may find their modules peculiarly devoid of Geoffrey Chaucer, Jane Austen, or Shakespeare’s sonnets.
This is for their own good, according to the many British universities, which have sought to “decolonise the curriculum” and liberate courses from the inequities of “white, Western and Eurocentric” knowledge.
The syllogism seemingly accepted across many university departments runs like this: Western knowledge is a product of colonialism; colonialism is an evil to be opposed; therefore Western knowledge must be opposed.
In this view, it is incumbent upon academics to change curricula – megalithic “knowledge” is to be replaced by pluralistic “knowledges”, and the “Euro-centric” canon is to be replaced by one that is more diverse.
Dealing with a ‘colonial legacy’
The view can be summarised in a Royal Veterinary College’s document, seen by The Telegraph, which states: “Knowledge as used in education, is underpinned by the Western or global-north narrative, which has consistently been viewed as being intellectually and culturally superior and has been perpetuated to the exclusion of other global sources of knowledge and cultures.
“Western colonialism enabled this, and the colonial legacy has endured in education.”
Staff across numerous institutions have argued that it is for the benefit of students, with a goal of tackling the discrepancy in average marks between white students and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
This “attainment gap” is central to the concerns of the institutions, which are eagerly decolonising their courses, and it appears academics pursuing this work believe that moving courses away from the white and Western will close the gulf.
Decolonisation is deemed necessary to boost grades and, as a missive at one institution informed staff, academics must ditch material traditionally revered by the “WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialised, rich and democratic)”.
Prof Frank Furedi, an education expert at the University of Kent, said: “They assume that an inclusive pedagogy helps students gain confidence by teaching material that is relevant to their lives.”
He has argued that a striving for relevance means the safely familiar is taught to students, rather than the challenging, with professors often offering learners material comfortingly created by people of the “same identity group”.
The effects of this pedagogical philosophy have been seen in numerous universities, including Stirling, which The Telegraph revealed had removed Jane Austen from one English module, replacing her with African-American author Toni Morrison for the stated reason of “decolonising” the curriculum.
The University of Leicester, in a similarly stated effort to “decolonise” its modules, removed Chaucer from its mediaeval literature course, and Salford chose to no longer assess students on the “white Western” sonnet form.
‘Colonialist’ musical notation
The issue is not just literary. At Oxford, one professor took issue with the teaching of “colonialist” musical notation and, at Cambridge, a module seeking to “decolonise the ear” aims to deconstruct classical music and its links to “neoliberal systems of power”. At the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, the “Black Mozart” Chevalier de Saint-Georges is used to teach sonatas, replacing Beethoven.
Away from the arts and humanities, Durham University has sought to address “almost entirely (or even completely) white” mathematics, and the Royal Veterinary College is pursuing its own programme of decolonisation.
The common culpability of these subjects, even those scientific disciplines rooted in (presumably universal) objectivity, is that they form part of a privileged “Western knowledge”.
According to internal documents, teaching staff at Solent are focused on: “Decentring white, Western and Eurocentric subject knowledge and drawing instead on global, diverse and marginalised perspectives”.
Salford warns in one decolonisation guide against prioritising of “Western sources of knowledge”, when students may have “alternative knowledge systems”.
Winchester has shared a guide on decolonising, which urges academics to “de-centre Western-dominated system of knowledge generation”. Similarly at Aston, there are ongoing efforts to address “Eurocentric philosophies and narratives and their impacts on pedagogy”.
Problems of curricula ‘whiteness’
Abertay’s psychology department notes in an update on “decolonisation” that the discipline lacks representation, as “most psychological science [was] conducted by white males in the early years”. The problem of curricula “whiteness” has also been raised at Liverpool John Moores, where an English department identified the necessity that “the unspoken power of whiteness should be examined and challenged in the core curriculum”.
At Oxbridge too, the pattern persists. Cambridge students have been told that the canon of classical music can be seen as an “imperial phenomenon” and, at Oxford, concerns have been raised about a classical “white hegemony”.
Many institutions stress that teaching must always incorporate the ideas of decolonisation: St Andrew’s history courses have been ensuring staff follow “inclusive and anti-colonial practices”, and staff at Edinburgh Napier “challenge both colonial views and Western hegemonies within higher education”.
Internal diversity chiefs promote this kind of view in many cases, and institutions themselves have professionalised the proselytising for diversity. SOAS University of London, for example, has developed its own frequently shared “toolkit” for decolonising, which warns against courses replete with “Westernness” or “whiteness”.
Kingston has developed a similar toolkit, while some universities have allowed students to simply tell teaching staff what they should be learning during the course of their degree.
Far from self-evident to general public
The inherent virtue of this approach is unquestioned across numerous departments, internal documents suggest, although to the public at large, the virtues of reappraising Western knowledge are far from self-evident.
But internal policy claims that it is to tackle the discrepancy in average marks between white students and those from ethnic minority backgrounds. In 2019, there was an attainment gap of 13 per cent between white students who achieved a 2:1 or first-class degree and black, Asian and ethnic minority students who did so, according to SOAS University of London.
Aston, in Birmingham, has stated in internal notes that its decolonising work “directly informs initiatives that address our attainment gaps”.
Salford, which dropped sonnets from a creative writing course in the cause of decolonisation, has stressed in internal messaging that: “Inclusive curricula reflect and cater for a diverse society and the learning needs of students from a wide range of backgrounds.”
Leicester has cited its decolonisation work as “response to the Race Award Gap”, while the University of Aberdeen’s “decolonisation steering group” cites addressing the attainment gap as a key issue.
Kingston’s toolkit for decolonising aims primarily to “improve the experience, skills and attainment of all students”, and Surrey, which has steered its courses away from “WEIRD” knowledge, has done so in the context of ensuring the “elimination of the awarding gap for black students”.
At Canterbury, the drive for a “diverse and inclusive” curriculum is aimed at closing the attainment gap; Oxford Brookes has been decolonising to achieve the same result. This objective is repeated across academia.
The SOAS decolonising toolkit, taken up by many UK institutions, makes clear that everything occidental, colonial, and white is being addressed in the context of closing the gulf in grades.