Isn’t this rather the problem?

A decolonised curriculum would bring questions of class, caste, race, gender, ability and sexuality into dialogue with each other, instead of pretending that there is some kind of generic identity we all share.

Is an English curriculum really supposed to be about questions of class, caste, race, gender, ability and sexuality?

Or, you know, maybe about English?

19 thoughts on “Isn’t this rather the problem?”

  1. “…knowledge is inevitably marked by power relations.”

    No, it isn’t, whatever that malign French idiot, Foucault, claimed. That leads to the vortex of relativism.

    To have knowledge of p, you need to believe that p is true and p must be true. No power relation is involved at all.

  2. In the course of my reading of European literature down the decades I have never felt oppressed by the sense that there was some kind of generic identity we all share. Lucky me.

  3. Easily solved. If you don’t like our history don’t speak our language. Cultural appropriation, ‘innit?

  4. It’s one of the things I like about being a Cockney. What with laying on the accent on with a trowel & the divergent vocabulary, the response one can get, even from native english speakers, can be “I didn’t understand that” to which the response is ” You’re not supposed to.”

  5. “pretending that there is some kind of generic identity we all share”

    I’m not 100% comfortable with the use of the curriculum to promulgate “us-ness”, particularly when eg using history to teach “British values” often means distorting it to fit a more contemporarily convenient national narrative. There are some people on this site and elsewhere who will think I’m being unduly mushy and unpatriotic on this one, but I’ll just point out how the Welsh and (especially) Scottish governments have, I’m told, used devolution to change their curricula to push a much more “national” Welsh or Scottish viewpoint, which they have favoured over the British one. Even if you like idea of education being used to push a national narrative, you might not like who is doing it…

    But what a bloody isolated, fragmented country we live in if there is no “generic identity we all share” – and funny how the same people who can write this stuff will hammer Mrs T for “no such thing as society” when their own course, seeing us as all in class, racial and sexual conflict with each other, is far more atomising.

    If the only thing we have in common is that we are human beings who happen to live on the same island group, and the only thing we can agree on is to treat each other in accordance with basic human rights laws, then as a country and a society we are utterly buggered. But although different people have different opinions about what being British means, opinions about it have shifted over time, and although even the idea of “Britishness” is socially constructed, I still can’t see why that makes it a “pretend” identity. I could have written exactly the same sentence substituting the words “queer” or “black” or “working class” and I don’t expect the author would have called those identities “pretend”?

  6. The problem with this kind of argument is that the best writing in English was done by white males. If you shoehorn in things by people that are not the best writers just because they are black, gay, or whatever then it isn’t English you are teaching any more.

    This is just another example of the hatred that many left wing people hold for anything traditional, obvious and simple, and their desire to use any excuse to destroy it. This is why huge immigration, and so on. It will probably end horribly for us.

  7. Travels to England to study English, then demands that English writers be removed from curriculum.

    Deport now.

  8. Master the Canon of English Literature and you will pretty much have covered class, caste, gender and the rest or hasn’t she managed to read Chaucer and Shakespeare?

  9. It’s a mystery what the English curriculum is meant to be about. For decades many of the more reflective university teachers of English (and other Arts subjects) have wondered – in private conversations – what the devil their discipline is meant to be all about.

    They compare their disciplines with Science, Engineering, Maths, Medicine, Law. They wonder whether their own efforts are footling by comparison. In private, that is.

    Except, in my experience, philosophers: they seem pretty upbeat. But then they teach students who are cleverer and more intellectually serious than the average Arts undergraduate, and pursue research that they seem to find interesting and satisfying. Even if I say “footnotes to Aristotle and Hume” they beam indulgently.

  10. it seems to me that the people complaining about current curriculums are the ones doing the colonising. English course comprising of english writers now expected to include writers from a non english background – which seems the definition of colonisation. Tell them to fuck off.

  11. I’m nearly 50 and we covered this sort of stuff *at* *school* in what then was called Design For Living. University is too late to be teaching people things as basic as washing their hands after having a poo and being careful what you put your nob in.

  12. On the radio the other day arty people talking about sexism in the arts basically decided that classical ballet was too problematic and should be removed. I’m a fairly liberal guy but I want my culture protected from these Year Zero loons.

    If society and culture are constructs why can we construct a culture proud of our history that is of world historical importance.

  13. questions of class, caste, race, gender, ability and sexuality into dialogue with each other, instead of pretending that there is some kind of generic identity we all share.

    But, but, but.. Haven’t the left, Graun/BBC been telling us for decades we’re all the same regardless of race, sex etc?

    Now Graun say that’s a pretense aka fake-news.

    “the words mean what we decide”

    The left are violent hypocrites.

  14. ‘A decolonised curriculum would bring questions of class, caste, race, gender, ability and sexuality into dialogue with each other, instead of pretending that there is some kind of generic identity we all share.’

    There is a generic identity we all share. The purpose of the curriculum is to destroy it. The goal is the destruction of Western Civilization.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *