‘I’m used to being the only brown person in the room’: why the humanities have a diversity problem

Can you name a philosopher? If Plato or Aristotle come to mind, but Franz Fanon or Gayatri Spivak do not, you may have a case of Eurocentrism – an understanding of the world that centres the west, at the expense of other cultures. But it’s not a value judgement on those non-European minds, say those who are increasingly alarmed at a lack of diversity among humanities postgraduates.

“It’s a blind spot,” says Dr Shyane Siriwardena, who lectures in philosophy at Leeds Trinity University. “It’s down to the naive belief that if black or ethnic philosophers were any good, they’d be up there with the rest of them.”

And this is damaging for all of us beyond the confines of universities, she says. Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students make up 22.3% of all master’s graduates, but just 11.5% of humanities postgraduates, and this drops to just 8.6% for history and philosophy and 9.2% for the arts. Business, law and medicine on the other hand have much higher proportion of black and Asian research postgraduates.

Read the full article on The Guardian.

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