More than 100 Cambridge students have called the university to include more black and ethnic minority writers in your English Literature curriculum, which leads to a row about the race. But the university has condemned the game and says that it supported the discussion on your reading list.
The literary row began with a letter written in June by the students of the university of the faculty of English in the month of June, asking it to “decolonise” the curriculum, through the inclusion of more BME writers.
The letter, primarily signed by the white students, said: “This is not a call for the exclusion of white men from the reading lists… it is a call to re-center the lives of other marginalized writers.”
One of the students, Lola Olufemi, the woman officer of the Cambridge University students union, then explained the position in an article for the university newspaper of the University students. She wrote that it was “simply not enough” for the university to offer an elective course to read post-colonial BENCHMARK texts at the end of three years of a degree.
His image was splashed on the front page of the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday under the title: “the Student of the strengths of Cambridge to drop white authors”. The role, then, was criticized for “distorting facts” and “demonizing” Ms Olufemi.
The university has responded by saying he supports “robust academic debate” and that “very soon” academic discussions had been conducted on this topic.
But for now, he said, “has been the decision to alter the way English is taught in the University of Cambridge”.
Then, what students do to study English Literature at Cambridge read and why?
The scheme of the course, advises students that they are going to study a full range of “English literature from the Middle Ages to the present day”.
Through the three years, the lists of four mandatory documents that need to be taken by all students:
English Literature and its Contexts 1300-1550
Practice Of Criticism
There are also more than 20 optional papers – “change regularly”, with the teachers provide lists of reading suggestions and the students making decisions on what books to study, which is based on that orientation.
But some students say that too often are geared towards white, male writers.
One of the teachers is Dr. Priyamvada Gopal, who teaches literature postcolonial. She says she has noticed “more firmness” of the students about what types of issues they want to explore.
Because many have not learned about the British Empire, while in school, she says, this makes them eager to study the books that examine the issues of what a british or English, and “how that relates to issues of race, immigration, and even of the class”.
What, then, should be on the agenda? The dr. Gopal has five books that she suggests is worthy of inclusion:
The dr. Gopal’s top five BME lee
It is recommended to read Dr. Priyamvada Gopal, the Reader of Anglophone Literatures and Fellow in Churchill College, Cambridge:
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano
Olaudah Equiano was a black African writer whose experiences as a slave led him to participate in the great Britain the abolition movement. His autobiography was first published in 1789, and was immensely popular.
The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon
The son of an Indian father and a Scottish-Indian mother, Sam Selvon moved to England in 1950, after serving in the Trinidad navy. The Lonely Londoners is perhaps his best known and commercially most successful novel and was his first to address the migrant experience.
The Black Jacobins by CLR James
Caribbean intellectual and political activist Cyril Lionel Robert James moved to England from Trinidad in 1932. Six years later he published his first novel, The Black Jacobins, his seminal work on the Haitian slave revolt.
The Emperor’s Babe by Bernardine Evaristo
Born in London to an English mother and Nigerian father, Bernardine Evaristo is an award-winning author and current professor of creative writing at Brunel University London. Published in 2001, The Emperor’s Babe is a mash-up of culture and history, set in Roman London. The Times crowned it the “Book of the Decade”.
Feminist Fables Suniti Namjoshi
Indian born in Suniti Namjoshi, the first book of fiction, Feminist Fables, was published in 1981. An important figure in contemporary Indian literature in English, she is known for the exploration of issues of gender, sexual and cultural identity.
The entire degree without BME’
Mariam Ansar, who helped draft the open letter, said that it was as a “result of years of frustration as a student, as a student of color studying English at Cambridge”.
The 22-year-old Bradford graduated this summer, and said: “This discussion had been happening in non-academic circles for a long time.”
Postgraduate fellow of Rebecca, a 21-year-old, who preferred not to give his surname, said: “In the time that a system exists at Cambridge by which a student can complete the entire literature degree without studying the writings of a person of color, or the context of slavery and colonialism-in-depth”.’Daunting and alienating’
Cambridge students Lizzie Bowes, 19, of Peterborough, criticized those who are “too quick” to fall back on the argument that there is no BENCHMARK authors of the same caliber as William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer or John Milton.
“As a BME student myself, being constantly told that BENCHMARK authors are excluded from the canon and the curriculum, simply because they are” not “good enough” is very disheartening and alienating,” he said.
Miss Bowes said to add to the list of authors want to help students to “challenge and question the prevailing views of English.”
Stella Swain, in his second year at Cambridge, pointed to the “worrying lack” of non-white authors in the course and said that the English Literature degree they appear to be “archaic”.The schools of the milk of lime too’
Cambridge students Finley Kidd, 19, of Norwich, who signed the letter, said that the problems with the English language and literature curriculum starts long before university.
She said: “Britain is the history of colonialism, empire, and the institutional racism is one such context that has been so fundamental in the shaping of our literature that we make no excuses for not doing so.
“My high school English curriculum was also white. I have had some incredible teachers and supervisors during my career who have encouraged my reading of authors such as Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong’o, but most of the academics that I have found don’t seem to take BME writers into consideration.
“The responsibility should not be on students to reach beyond the reading lists – it is possible that many do not realize that even allowed [to do this] – but in the academic world to diversify their reading lists.”