Sign to Save Anthropology at Glasgow University
Re: proposed cuts in Anthropology which will come before Court on the 16th of February To whom it may concern, It has been brought to our attention that the University is planning on implementing changes within the subject area of Sociology, specifically in regards to Anthropology. We understand the changes to entail a threat to the positions of a number of staff in the subject area. Although financial affairs cannot be ignored in today's economic climate, as students, we would like to emphasize that one cannot look solely at monetary issues when making decisions regarding university cuts. One must also consider the single most important factor in defining the success of a university. That, we would argue, is the quality of education. Included in this is the satisfaction, experience and most importantly, the knowledge, gained by students. We feel that the proposed restructuring would be detrimental to the aforementioned. The inclusion of Anthropology within the subject area of Sociology has provided students with invaluable tools relevant for the increasingly global world we live in today. Anthropology's unique approach to society promotes reflexive understandings of ones own culture and society as well as engaging students in appreciating and developing a greater understanding of the various cultural and social contexts found across the world. The value of Anthropology lies in its ability to identify inherent flaws in ethnocentrism and cultural imperialism, helping us to question our unjustified and taken-for-granted assumptions about the world we live in. As the Glasgow University Website states, the University is a “broad-based, research intensive institution with a global reach and a global strategy”, equipping students with “the skills they need to compete in a global workplace” (http://www.gla.ac.uk/about/ ). Similarly, the University's Global Strategy states that the University aims to “become a truly international university with a multi-cultural community of students and staff” and “prepare students for political and social environments worldwide” (http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_180610_en.pdf). The emphasis on the global aims of the University could not be made clearer. Rather than being eliminated, Anthropology should be recognized as an essential component not only to the subject area Sociology but to the University as a whole due to its success in not only including, but highlighting, the importance of global dimensions in academia. We can empathize with the fact that making cuts is not an easy task, but we would also like to emphasize that the simplest solution is not always the best one. Let us remember that the University of Glasgow is not a business, it is an educational institution which should value knowledge for the sake of knowledge. We hope that you will take our perspectives into account when making your decisions. Please see attached list of names in support of this letter.