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July 28, 2016 Comments (0) About Education

Yale Petition Seeks to Add Diversity to English Courses


(Photo: Wikimedia, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Wikimedia, Creative Commons)

A student petition circulating through Yale University seeking to “decolonize” the undergraduate curriculum for English majors has caught the interest of the English department at the school.

The petition is asking department faculty members to reevaluate the core and introductory classes for the major in the school. ?Students are pushing for a?complete overhaul?of the “Major English Poets” survey course, that is currently a two-semester prerequisite for that major.

\”It is unacceptable that the Yale student considering studying English literature might read only white male authors,\” the petition states.

The description for the course mentions the study of a number of poets including?Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Donne within the fall semester, while?Milton, Pope, Wordsworth, Eliot, and something other modern poet is going to be studied early in the year, writes Lizzie Crocker for The Daily Beast.

The petition procedes to suggest that spending annually “where the literary contributions of ladies, people of color, and queer folk are absent” hurts to all students, no matter race, ethnicity, or gender association. ?It states the program is creating “a culture?that is especially hostile to students of color,\” making them feel alone and unprepared for?\”higher-level courses associated with race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, ability or even to engage with critical theory or secondary scholarship.”

Jill Richards, a helper English Professor and Associate Director of Undergraduate Students, notes that similar issues were previously brought up by undergraduate students last year, writes Anna Rhodes for Fox News.

Richards suggested adding?17th century British playwright and poet Aphra Behn; Phillis Wheatley, the very first published African-American poet; Victorian poet Christina Rossetti; and Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, and Derek Walcott into the English curriculum.

The reason for the survey course would be to ensure prospective English majors at the school possess the skills essential to complete higher-level courses, and Richards believes replacing a few of the poets traditionally studied within the course would not change the overall course.

However, students at the school who wants to remain anonymous said the petition is in fact looking to put an end to laptop computer course altogether. ?A student, an English major who helped to write the petition, known as the course discriminatory, adding that great deal of thought to be the basis for the English language or literature is hurtful because?it doesn\’t represent all the people who contributed.

She added that the one modern poet selected through the professor after the second semester may be the only instance where an individual who is not a white male is brought in to the course for study. ?\”We\’re residing in a new time in which we\’re attempting to account for everyone\’s perspective. Throughout history lots of people\’s voices were erased, which course suggests that\’s OK.\”

Faculty head?Professor Langdon Hammer recently taken care of immediately the petition via a blog post around the faculty website, saying that while the course, that has been in use at the school because the 1920s, has not previously experienced the news, “it seemed fitting” for college students to be questioning the information. ?According to his post, the school will discuss the problem with students, with a final decision around the course being produced in the fall.

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