Tag Archives: Rhodes

‘White Philosophers to be Dropped from Curriculum’


News | UK | Home News

SOAS students call for ‘white philosophers to be dropped from curriculum’

Lucy Pasha-Robinson | @lucypasha | 9th January 2017

Students at University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) are calling for white philosophers to be largely removed from the curriculum to better represent the university’s focus on Asia and Africa.

As part of the student union’s “educational priorities” for 2017, students outlined ways to “address the structural and epistemological legacy of colonialism within our university” as part of an initiative that aims to “decolonise” SOAS.

One suggestion was to ensure the majority of philosophers taught on university courses come from the Global South or its diaspora.

The students also said if white philosophers were required, their work should be taught from a “critical standpoint”, to acknowledge the colonial context in which many of their works were written.

Dr Deborah Gabriel, founder of Black British Academics, said the students were clearly seeking to engage in a more culturally diverse discussion that was reflective of the university’s focus, and interrogate the links to colonisation held by the institution.

“A culturally democratic curriculum is something that all scholars, regardless of their ethnic background, should be teaching, given global and national priorities in the 21st century,” she told The Independent.

“Teaching is often based on very narrow criteria and often tends to be eurocentric. These students are calling on scholars to meet the criteria of their role to teach from different cultural contexts, it’s something we all should be doing more of.”

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However, she also said decolonising doesn’t necessarily equate to removing the problematic.

“I don’t believe that necessitates removing white scholars because not all white scholars espouse ideas that are narrow in context, a lot of them do engage in anti-racist teaching. Academia often draws on series that are decades old, which is what people often find problematic,” she said.

“If you remove that kind of content from the curriculum, how are you going to critique it? That is what changes attitudes and thinking by looking at past theories and how they have evolved, and looking at what is considered progressive and acceptable now.”

The SOAS “educational priorities” came amid growing calls from students across the UK to rid British universities of associations with colonialism.

Last year, Oxford University refused to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oriel College over his links with Britain’s colonial past, despite a high-profile student-led campaign.

Cambridge University’s Jesus College took down a bronze cockerel statue, which had been looted during a British colonial expedition to Nigeria in the 19th century, after students asked for it to be repatriated.

SOAS is the largest European centre for the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East.

SOAS spokesperson Dr Deborah Johnston, pro-director learning and teaching told The Independent: “One of the great strengths of SOAS is that we have always looked at world issues from the perspective of the regions we study – Asia, Africa & Middle East. Informed and critical debate and discussion about the curriculum we teach is a healthy and proper part of the academic enterprise.”


The Independent has approached SOAS’s student union for comment.


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Rhodes Must Fall


News | World | Africa

Controversial Rhodes Must Fall founder defends lashing out at white student with ‘protest stick’

Adam Withnall Africa Correspondent  | @adamwithnall | Thursday 22 September 2016

‘I wish I had actually not been a good law abiding citizen, and whipped the white apartheid settler colonial entitlement out of the b******’


A former Oxford student and co-founder of the university’s Rhodes Must Fall campaign has reportedly been caught on camera lashing out at a white student during protests against higher education fees in South Africa.

Ntokozo Qwabe, who last made headlines when he refused to tip a white waitress until “you return the land”, did not deny using what he called his “protest stick” in the video, but said he only wished he had “whipped the white apartheid settler colonial entitlement out of the b******”.

Video posted to social media appeared to show Mr Qwabe standing on a table in the law faculty of the University of Cape Town, one of a number of institutions across the country hit by protests in recent weeks.

According to the Times Live, Mr Qwabe said he was involved in a “shut down” of the “arrogant” faculty when a white student started filming the protesters on his mobile phone.

The footage shows an argument over the filming, before it ends abruptly when Mr Qwabe appears to lunge towards the camera with a stick.

Writing on his Facebook page, Mr Qwabe said it was “not true I assaulted or whipped with a stick a white student”.

qwabe.jpg
(Ntokozo Qwabe/Facebook)

He said the only acted to knock the phone out of the student’s hand. “He picked it up and continued to video‚ at which point I came closer to him and told him to switch it the f*** off,” Mr Qwabe said, at which point the student “then kindly put it back into his pocket”.

“Although I wish I’d actually not been a good law abiding citizen & whipped the white apartheid settler colonial entitlement out of the b****** – who continued to video record us without our consent – this is not what happened as the media is reporting.”

Mr Qwabe rose to prominence in the UK when he helped start the movement calling for Oxford University to remove its statue of the colonialist leader Cecil Rhodes.

A Rhodes scholar himself, he said forcing black students to walk past the statue outside Oriel College was a form of “violence”.

In June, he caused outrage after saying on social media he had made Cape Town waitress Ashleigh Schultz cry “typical white tears” after he wrote on a cafe bill: “We will tip when you return the land”.


 

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