In exhibit #3,767 of ginned-up cancel culture panic, The Daily Mail is reporting that Stirling University in Scotland…
…has removed Jane Austen [from a literature course] to help “decolonise the curriculum” and “contribute increased diversity” on the syllabus. Stirling University’s English Literature programme has replaced the famous author of Pride and Prejudice with award-winning writer Toni Morrison, who is known for her works about the experiences of African Americans.
In classic Daily Mail fashion (its American equivalent is something like the NY Post) this was the headline: “No Pride, Lots of Prejudice: Stirling University Ditches Jane Austen From English Literature Course in Bid to ‘Decolonise the Curriculum.’” Hmmm.
If you read the actual article in question it very much sounds like Stirling offers an annual “special focuses” course that examines the oeuvre of a canonical writer. Here’s the money quote, which is found two-thirds of the way down the page: “The department running the English Literature course said that the university changes focus annually and has not critiqued Austen.”
But as the Mail headline writers’ know, most of their readers will, at best, skim the piece, with the great majority angrily reposting the headline on Facebook or Twitter raging about what they’ve done to our dear Jane. Engagement over substance.
But Jane Austen will be fine and—I’m sure—she’ll be there for the good students of Stirling University should they want to study her in any number of courses. In the meantime, they’re lucky to have the opportunity to dive into the work of Toni Morrison.