KCL second year calls out the History department’s lack of diversity

She says the department needs to ‘diversify the curriculum’


A King's second year has written an open letter to the History department claiming the institution enforces western colonialisation history on third years doing their dissertation.

History student Ruva Takawira wrote the open letter to the staff of the Department on Wednesday, highlighting the departmental rearrangement and the continuation of colonial legacy in the King's History Department.

In the letter, which has been shared by dozens of King's students, Ruva points out there are only "17 limited areas of study" which makes it very hard for third year students to "find a niche" to write on and research due to these limitation.

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Ruva, KCL second year

Ruva continues to attack claims on the History department's website: "Global reach – spanning Britain, Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa and Australia." She says though the university is "renowned" for these values, many students have been left disappointed.

Out of the 17 module options, there are no significant areas of study on Africa and the Arab world, and only two modules on race. Ruva says suggests the department "thought that two modules on race were sufficient to diversify the curriculum".

She goes onto explain that although two modules concentrate on Australia, the indigenous history of the country is ignored.

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Ruva further highlights a number of areas of historical study left neglected among the dissertation options on offer at King's, including: "The Middle Ages, studies in queer history, economic history, history of science, technology, and Medicine".

Instead, she says, the department "enforces the history of Western Europe and Britain and/or her colonies on" students for their "most independent and researched body of work". The post includes a link to a survey where students are invited to submit their opinions.

At King's the dissertation module is worth over 60 credits (or one quarter of the entire degree).

Ruva told The King's Tab: "I thought it was extremely unfair that the selection choice for our diss modules was so narrow especially since it's something we have to do, and the fact that so many people were displeased shows that King's really failed to cater to a broad range of interests.

"It's endemic of a wider problem in secondary school and university curricula in regards to diversity and inclusion."

Ruva later met with Decolonise King's, and told The King's Tab: "The meeting was great. The work of that society and the diversion groups is fab. I felt like everyone was being listened to but idk if they’ll be any change for this year."

Sharing the post, one King's student said: "Dissertations should be a celebration of enthusiasm for, and dedication to, our subject; not something that students come to resent."

The King's Tab has approached the History department for comment.

Read Ruva's letter in full here.