Coleborne, Catharine: The concept of ‘western civilisation’ is past its use-by date in university humanities departments

Catharine Coleborne

The concept of “western civilisation” is past its use-by date in university humanities departments‘, The Conversation, 21 November 2017

Critiques moves driven by the new Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation to revamp BA courses around the idea of ‘Western civilisation’. The author looks particularly at the diverse ethnic backgrounds of Australian students today.

University education for these students should extend our collective sense of history, and universities must avoid narrowing the liberal arts to an old-fashioned view of a world with borders. These borders tend to be reinforced through the focused study of specific peoples and places, such as western civilisation.

Universities should embrace the multiple languages, literature, histories and perspectives of a broad array of cultures and peoples, a task made more pressing by our changing demographic. We need to teach students to relate to our neighbours near and far, and to celebrate difference and diversity.

These issues were also aired recently by the Institute of Public Affairs.

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