Goldsmiths University reverses decision to axe Black British literature

Goldsmiths University of London has decided to reverse its earlier decision to axe the master’s degree programme in Black British literature following a widespread backlash from students, writers, and external stakeholders, per The initial announcement in April, which included the discontinuation of the Black British literature course among others, was met with strong criticism.

Booker prize-winner Bernardine Evaristo, along with other writers and former students, urged Goldsmiths to reconsider the decision, describing it as “cultural and social vandalism.” The university’s decision to retain the MA Black British Literature program for at least two more years comes after receiving feedback and pressure to reconsider.

Prof Frances Corner, the warden of Goldsmiths, stated, “After receiving feedback from colleagues, students, and advocates of the college, we can confirm that MA Black British Literature will be maintained for two years.” She further added that a working group would review the program in the upcoming academic year.

Bernardine Evaristo, photographed at her home/

However, concerns remain over the fate of other programs affected by the cuts, including the queer history program. Goldsmiths University and College Union (GUCU) welcomed the decision regarding the Black British literature course but expressed ongoing concerns over the 132 academic jobs threatened with redundancy.

The GUCU has been in negotiations with the university and had initiated an assessment boycott in mid-April to protest the proposed cuts. Catherine Rottenberg, a GUCU executive committee member, highlighted that while the decision regarding the Black British literature program is welcome, it is just one of the many programs under threat.

The MA Black British literature program, launched in 2017, was hailed as a pioneering initiative. Its retention is seen as a victory by many who argued for its importance in academia and society. However, concerns over the broader restructuring and job cuts at Goldsmiths University persist, and negotiations between the university and the union continue.

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date