Freelance journalist (BBC, RFI, magazines), writer (first book on Bristol's music and art scene), I work with Raoul Peck on his film projects. Born in Paris, I have been based in Prague, Miami, London, Nairobi (covering Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia) and Bristol, UK. Travelled to Italy, Haiti, Tunisia, Liberia, South Africa, India, Mexico, Niger, Turkey, Iraq... Passions: Africa, Europe, literature, music, arts. This blog is to share thoughts and cultural discoveries from around the world.
Cambridge students fighting for equity
Cambridge university 'decolonisation' row spreads as students target several courses, documents reveal
Cambridge University students’ “decolonisation” campaign has spread to Classics, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering, a document reveals.
Over 30 university departments will be targeted by students as they step up their efforts to examine whether courses are too dominated by white, male, Euro-centric perspectives.
Working groups have been set up to discuss possible changes in a number of subjects, according to a spreadsheet seen by The Daily Telegraph.
The Classics Society has held a panel discussion to discuss “what decolonisation would look like”, while a “decolonising Physics reading group” is up and running, the document says.
The Geography Faculty is described as being “fairly far ahead” in its efforts to decolonise the curriculum, while the Law, Sociology and Architecture faculties have set up a decolonisation working groups.
Chemistry, Medicine and Engineering are all featured on the list of subjects that have been earmarked for further campaigning, according to the document which was posted on the “Decolonise Cambridge” Facebook group.
The document explains how students in the Department of Politics and International Studies “managed to get the department to place decolonisation as core agenda in the upcoming changes to the curricula” with a student and staff faculty meeting due to take place next term.
Decolonise seminars are due to run in the History and Philosophy of Science department at the start of the Easter term.
Jessica Tan, the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Education Officer at Cambridge University students’ union, said she plans to set up a team to centralise efforts to decolonise the curriculum across a range of different subjects.
The National Union of Students’ (NUS) campaign called Liberate My Curriculum was set up to “expose institutional racism” within higher education and bring together individual decolonisation campaigns at various universities.
Ilyas Nagdee, the NUS Black Students’ Officer, said that there are numerous examples of Britain’s imperial past being “celebrated without any context or challenge from the institutions which are meant to be Britain’s centres of critical thought.” He said this includes a statue of Queen Victoria at Royal Holloway University, Churchill College at Cambridge, as well as the Cecil Rhodes statue at Oxford and the Wills Memorial Building at Bristol.
Mr Nagdee said that the NUS campaign is “predominantly borne out of the frustration of students of colour who have not seen their history reflected in their textbooks”.
He added: “The whitewashing of history is then exacerbated at university not only in the content of courses but within the spaces of learning.”