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Professor details hypocrisy of campus ‘decolonization’ efforts

Why would decolonizers do away with foreign languages?

So-called “decolonization” efforts have been extremely popular at American and U.K. campuses over the last few years. One of the main goals is to decrease the amount of “white” and “male”-centric subject matter and materials in favor of those by under-represented populations.

For example, the Stanford University Student Alliance for Justice in Education aims to “disrupt the dominance of Western schools of knowledge.” Cal State Fullerton’s “The Social Life of Food” course requires students to “write a recipe that is decolonized.”

Some of the crazier endeavors entail questioning the objectivity of science and advocating “violent resistance” to effect (decolonization) policy.

The University of Maryland at College Park’s Eric Adler, chair of the Department of Classics, recently pointed out in The Chronicle of Higher Education that pushes for decolonization at his school are “inherently contradictory” … because foreign languages are on the chopping block.

In other words, all the decolonization would be done in the colonizer’s lingo.

From Adler’s piece:

[S]upport for English-only “decolonization” speaks to much more than merely the perverse incentives of contemporary American higher education. It also provides a warning about how our nation’s colleges and universities can foment a false cosmopolitanism, a paradoxically provincial view of other cultures that encourages an unmerited sense of worldliness among American undergraduates. What U.S. institutions of higher learning advertise as genuine cosmopolitanism can be viewed as a form of intellectual colonialism — an American ideology of cultural difference that conveniently jettisons the necessity of doing the hard work to learn about other nations and ways of life. …

Indeed, English-only “decolonization” gives the impression that the only required characteristic of a worldly individual is a certain kind of progressive American ideology, one that boils down complex historical dynamics and cross-cultural interactions into an easily digested narrative of right and wrong. Students must be given the vague sense that the United States has treated much of the world unjustly.

Adler echoes the University of Nottingham’s Sumantra Maitra who five years ago wrote that “there’s a broader subversive aim being served here […] essentially a type of power grab by one set of ideological, left-wing academics who use gullible students as pawns in their broader war against the Western canon and rational inquiry.”

MORE: Art school with $50 million COVID deficit is hiring 10 professors to teach ‘race and decolonization’

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