Students at at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, one of Europe’s most prestigious universities, are calling for philosophers such as Plato, Descartes, Immanuel Kant and Bertrand Russell to be dropped from the courses because they are white.
The student union is demanding that when studying philosophy “the majority of philosophers on our courses” should be from Africa and Asia as opposed to being white, Western thinkers.
The union said it is part of wider campaign to “decolonise” the university, as it seeks to “address the structural and epistemological legacy of colonialism”.
It said that “white philosophers” should be studied only “if required”, adding that their work should be taught solely from a “critical standpoint”. “For example, acknowledging the colonial context in which so-called ‘Enlightenment’ philosophers wrote within,” it added.