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YUSU organises talk to tackle our homogenous curriculum

Tomorrow's event will feature talks aimed at educating students about the inherent colonialism within the curriculum

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In support of Black History Month, YUSU, particularly Academic Officer Giang Nguyen, have organised a series of important talks and lectures regarding the issue of decolonising and diversifying the curriculum at the University of York which will take place tomorrow, 30 October.

Black History Month is the time of the year to celebrate and appreciate the achievements of BAME individuals, past and present. YUSU have specifically organised this event in recognition of this celebration, and hope to continue to teach people about what we can still do to increase the scope of academic representation across the curriculum.

Talks such as these are integral to preventing the continuation of homogeneity within our curriculum; homogeneity which perpetuates Western voices over natives from countries subdued by empire. The talks will be primarily led by staff experts here at the University of York. These are: Shazia Jagot from the Department of English and Related Literature, who will be discussing decolonising medieval literature; Indrajit Roy from the Department of Politics, who will speak on her perspectives on decolonising and diversifying academia, and she will also highlighting the initiatives taken by the Politics Department, which help in diversifying it; Ingrid Kvangraven, also from the Politics Department, Kvangraven will be discussing her views on the decolonisation of scholarship, and will also speak on her perspectives of diversification and decolonisation, with particular emphasis on D-Econ - a network of economists who aim to promote more inclusivity and diversity within economics.

Additionally, Clare Burgess, history course representative, will talk about a student led conference which aims to explore marginalised histories. The GSA representatives and Environment and Ethics Representatives, Merry Dickinson and Mark Matthews - who are both experienced climate change campaigners - will also be speaking at the event, the latter of these will be discussing decolonisation and the climate emergency, which is particularly pertinent given both the University’s pledge to divest from fossil fuels and YUSU’s declaration of a climate emergency.

Finally, Academic Officer Giang Nguyen will be speaking about the theme of diversifying and decolonisation, as well as her plans for the year ahead. Regarding the event, she told Nouse:

“I want students, staff and the wider community to question themselves and each other about why there is a BAME attainment gap, why the curriculum we study and deem as universal knowledge is not diverse in terms of the demographics of authors within our curriculum. That is why me and the GSA have organised the event called ‘Start the Conversation: Decolonising and Diversifying Curriculum at York’ this Wednesday 30th October”

We also got in contact with the Head of Equality and Diversity at the University, Maria Ayaz. She told us:

“The start the conversation event on diversifying the curriculum strongly connects to our activities to embed inclusive learning, teaching and assessment. We encourage all staff and students to engage with this event and share perspectives on this important agenda’’.

The event in question will take place in the Physics department building, in the lecture hall P/T/005a and will take place from 1pm until 3pm.More details for the event can be found on its Facebook page (‘Decolonising and Diversifying the Curriculum at York’). If you are unsure about the event, and whether this topic interests you, the event page says:

“If you’ve ever wondered why your curriculum is dominated by white, Western, male and straight authors; why there is a lack of diversity among staff and students at York; or why attainment is lower for BAME students than their white counterparts, this event is for you.”

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