Are you revolted by the racism of rhyme? Are you put off by the prejudice of iambic pentameter? If so, the University of Salford might be for you.
The Greater Manchester, England school recently took stock of its literary licentiousness, and as a result, it sunsetted sonnets.
Per university documents, the public institution nixed “pre-established literary forms” from a creative writing exam, because they’re a product of whiteness.
In order to ax oppression, Salford aims to “decolonize the curriculum.”
Some may not have realized sonnets were sinister, but one might only digest the definition in order to peer into perniciousness.
sonnet: a fixed verse form of Italian origin consisting of 14 lines that are typically 5-foot iambics rhyming according to a prescribed scheme.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
To cancel a Caucasian cacophony of coordinated syllables, the University of Salford has abolished all the above.
From The Telegraph:
Students of poetry no longer have to write traditional forms as part of their assessment, according to a slideshow illustrating best practice in decolonising courses at Salford, which was shared with staff.
The slideshow showcasing “inspiration from colleagues” states that courses leaders have “simplified the assessment offering choice to write thematically rather than to fit into pre-established literary forms previously used in the module which tend to the products of white western culture.”
Salford is whacking whiteness while poetically propping people who are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME):
University documents state that this decolonising — a term used to describe refocusing curricula away from historically dominant Western material and viewpoints — is taking place as part of work to make Salford “more diverse and inclusive place” for students.
Messages from university leadership state in relation to this push for inclusivity that the “award gap that exists for our BAME students is not acceptable”, and offers “decolonising the curriculum” as a measure to address disparities in attainment.
Internal training materials shared with staff make the case that decolonised and “inclusive curricula” better “reflect and cater for a diverse society”, and result in “better outcomes for all students on the programme, than those that are structured along more traditional lines.”
Especially in academia, there’s a lot of decolonization going ’round:
In literature specifically, perhaps we’ll eventually “decōlonize” — particular contemporary punctuation might be traced back to those who are Westernly white — like all those chalky Sicilians.
In the meantime, the University of Salford is doing its part to promote inclusion in classes.
According to Professor Scott Thurston, staying up to date is par for the poetic course:
The leader of the creative writing course at Salford, Dr Scott Thurston, said the Writing Poetry in the Twenty-first Century module was “often updated to take account of new trends and developments in contemporary writing”.
It seems that if sonnets should be sacked because white people perpetrated them, there is much, much more to be removed from our increasingly-enlightened world.
Indeed — where Williams Shakespeare’s shameless racism’s concerned, maybe Bowfinger was right:
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