October 27, 2017
It’s time that the white oppressor finally let go of his precious “Shakespeare” – this is the age of Ta-Nehisi Coates!
Finally, colored people are getting recognition in the universities that their slave ancestors built from cotton.
When the rest of the whites are finally pushed out, then the real education can begin.
A year and a half after a petition circulated calling for Yale to “decolonize the English department,” the first students are enrolled in a new course created by the department to increase the breadth of the curriculum and combat claims of departmental racism.
What’s more, new requirements are in place to ensure a more “diversified” slate of courses.
Previous requirements for the major included two courses in “Major English Poets,” including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton and Eliot, among others. But that two-course series petitioners had deemed actively harmful due to its focus on white male poets. The series is no longer a graduation requirement for Yale’s English majors.
There is nothing more harmful to a black man than reading Shakespeare.
The petition, a Google document which has since been made private, critiqued the perceived whiteness of the English department requirements: “A year spent around a seminar table where the literary contributions of women, people of color, and queer folk are absent actively harms all students, regardless of their identity.”
“It’s time for the English major to decolonize — not diversify — its course offerings,” the petition added. “A 21st century education is a diverse education: we write to you today inspired by student activism across the university, and to make sure that you know that the English department is not immune from the collective call to action.”
Nearly a year after the petition, around seven months ago, Yale’s English faculty voted to “diversity” the curriculum. At the time of the vote, the director of the department’s undergraduate studies, Jessica Brantley, told The Yale Daily News: “We’ve constructed a curriculum that has inclusion as its goal, embedded in the structures of its requirements, and I’m very excited to implement and develop that curriculum further.”
The previous curriculum was based on the most racist standard of all: objective quality.
The reconfiguring of the English department’s required courses did not directly address the demands of the petition to do away with the Major English Poets sequences altogether; the courses still exist. The reconfiguration also did not refocus the program’s pre-1800 and pre-1900 literature requirement to address issues of race, gender, and sexuality as demanded by the petition.
Instead, the English department now allows students to fill three required prerequisites from a choice of four different courses: Readings in English Poetry 1, Readings in English Poetry 2, Readings in American Literature, and a newly created course, Readings in Comparative World English Literature.
Because Chaucer and Shakespeare are both studied in English Poetry 1, these expanded options mean that a student could graduate from the program without ever reading either of these authors.
Readings in English Poetry 2 focuses on more recent poets, including Milton through Eliot and other modern writers.
Meanwhile, the newly developed Comparative World English course, which debuted this fall, is taught by English professor Stephanie Newell.
Her research focuses on “the public sphere in colonial West Africa and issues of gender, sexuality, and power as articulated through popular print cultures,” according to her faculty bio.
Yeah well, what about before colonialism?
Why is none of their literature from the pre-colonial period included?
It seems to me that if there is nothing included from the pre-colonial period of African literature, then this is still racist. Because colonial literature is tainted by whites.
I think it’s time to start a petition that pre-colonial African literature be taught at Yale. It is also good if we can collect screenshots of people of color and white women calling for the inclusion of pre-colonial African literature in the curriculum of Yale.
In fact, I don’t think that students should be given an option – the pre-colonial literature of Africa should be required reading for ALL students. Because there is so much whites can also learn from the pre-colonial literature of Africa.
Why read the Canterbury Tales…
…when you’ve got the Djibouti Tales?