Academics are told classic books can harm their ‘wellbeing’ and told to stop reading ‘uncomfortable’ content
- Queen Mary University of London has provided a reading list for staff
- It includes novels to educate them on issues of equality, diversity and inclusion
- Texts including Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird feature on the Reading List
- Also comes with a content warning from the HR department
They are being told to issue ‘trigger warnings’ to protect undergraduates from certain course content, now academics are being asked to stop reading ‘uncomfortable’ content to protect their own well-being .
Queen Mary University of London has provided a reading list to staff to educate them on issues of equality, diversity and inclusion.
It contains classic school texts, such as To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and the children’s book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
The listing also comes with a ‘content warning’ from the human resources department which states: ‘Some of the following books and resources may have content and refer to sensitive issues that some people may find upsetting.
“If you feel uncomfortable with anything please stop your activity, it is important that you take care of your own well-being.”
The reading list contains classic school texts, such as To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and the children’s book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Other literary works recommended for college staff include John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.
Staff are also directed to a number of texts on “whiteness, white frailty, and advantage.” They include the 2017 bestseller Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge and a blog titled: The Sugarcoated Language of White Fragility.
The move follows many universities giving trigger warnings about humanities courses to undergraduate students.
The Open University has issued trigger warnings for all but one of the texts studied in its ‘English Literature from Shakespeare to Austen’ module.
Meanwhile, the University of Warwick has warned undergraduates that Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd depicts ‘the cruelty of nature’ in depictions of dying sheep.
At the University of Aberdeen, students have been told they can opt out of discussions on a module on Geoffrey Chaucer and medieval writing because the course ‘sometimes involves engagement with topics you might find emotionally difficult “.
Queen Mary’s decision was criticized by Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, who said the trigger warnings were “spreading like a virus”.
“Having spread from students to professors, there is now a very real danger that the ‘trigger warning’ virus will infect and harm many aspects of daily life,” he said. ‘What next – trigger warnings for being a meat eater, a white man, a car driver? ‘Or is it already too late?’
Meanwhile, the University of Warwick has warned undergraduates that Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd depicts ‘the cruelty of nature’ in depictions of dying sheep. Pictured: Thomas Hardy
His criticism was echoed by Frank Furedi, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, who said: ‘Academia’s obsession with isolating people from sensitive issues has led to a situation where the university is transforming gradually into a clinic where students and staff are considered potential. the patients.’
He added: “With the standardization of trigger warnings, reading itself is increasingly being treated as a health risk.”
A spokeswoman for Queen Mary University of London called the advice “historic” and said it would now be removed from the university’s website.
“The guidance does not align with University policy,” she said.