Saturday, October 03, 2015

Administration to Gut Curriculum of School of Oriental and African Studies

I have been posting a lot on Afro-Asian discourses recently. This has been primarily because of the recent conference here in Ghana, but it is also because I am an "Orientalist" teaching in Africa. I did my MA and PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). I am thus very saddened to see that the administration at SOAS is completely gutting its curriculum and eliminating 184 courses including core courses in such subjects as Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. SOAS used to be the premier university for the study of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East in the English speaking world. It has been losing that edge for a long time because of the deliberate stupidity of its administration. But, this latest act is akin to institutional suicide. There was a reason SOAS was founded in 1916 and that mission will be extremely difficult to fulfil if these course cuts go through. What will be left will be a shell of what used to be one of the greatest small universities in the world.

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