Author Topic: Academic decolonization  (Read 2585 times)


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Re: Academic decolonization
« Reply #60 on: October 21, 2022, 03:06:21 am »
One of the best headlines of the year:****-is-shakespeare-relevant-to-nz-in-2022/

Every year in high school, Sasha Hutchinson had to read William Shakespeare’s plays - and she never understood why.

It just didn’t seem relevant, she said.

“Now I’m prioritising reading Māori authors more often as we never got to study any NZ literature at school.”

There’s no requirement for schools to teach Shakespeare but when Re:News asked its followers about whether they learnt Shakespeare at school, almost everyone replied that it was part of their English course at high school.

But is learning about Shakespeare relevant in Aotearoa in 2022?

After 10 years of providing funding to the New Zealand secondary school Shakespeare Festival commonly known as Sheilah Winn, Creative New Zealand (CNZ) has decided not to fund the festival in their 2023 to 2025 Kahikatea funding round.

A CNZ advisory board member wrote in a statement that the festival didn’t receive funding because it focuses on “a canon of imperialism”.

Another funding assessor wrote: “I question whether a singular focus on an Elizabethan playwright is most relevant for a decolonising Aotearoa in the 2020s and beyond.”
“We basically did one of his plays every year at high school. His work is important but that level of revisiting is overkill,” one person wrote.

Others thought the focus on Shakespeare was at the sake of work that highlighted the culture, issues and history of Aotearoa.

“I love Shakespeare, but the fact that it is held as the epitome of literary intellectuality in New Zealand is coloniality at its finest,” one person told Re:News.

Decolonising art
Shakespeare and colonisation are “bedfellows” and British colonisers used it as an example of how people should act and what they should think of as high art, Hyland said.

“It would be a massive, awesome act of decolonisation if we discovered our own stories first and discovered Shakespeare afterwards,” Hyland said.

“Wouldn't it be great if young people could come home and say, ‘Hey, Mum, Dad, I just found this story and it's really similar to Hinemoana and Tūtānekai. It's Romeo and Juliet’.”

Not only should Aotearoa discover its own stories first, but it should also discover the stories of nearby fellow victims of Western colonialism.
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