English professors at Yale are reportedly working to “decolonize” the way they teach literature after a petition complained that the current curriculum, which is focused on the study of longstanding literary icons, ignores “the literary contributions of women, people of color, and queer folk” and “actively harms” students.
From a report published in Yale News:
The department’s 30 voting faculty were “overwhelmingly in favor” of reform, according to English professor Leslie Brisman. The revised curriculum, which has yet to be finalized, places equal importance on every major historical period from medieval to contemporary, expanding upon the current requirement of three pre-1800 courses and one pre-1900 course. The long-standing “Major English Poets” sequence of English 125 and 126 will remain, but students will be able to chose other paths towards completing the major. Students will be asked to complete three courses from a suite of four, including two semesters of English poetry, one of American literature and one in global Anglophone literature, to build on close reading strengths while exploring the writers and periods covered in introductory courses, said Director of Undergraduate Studies and English professor Jessica Brantley.
The decision, which the department has not formally announced, comes nearly one year after 160 students signed a petition calling for the department to “decolonize” its course offerings.
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