Cusset letter

Date : 28 avril 2010 20:46:04 HAEC

À :,,

Dear Sirs and Madam,

Having learned of the impending decision to close the philosophy programs and department at Middlesex University, I can only stress the unique role played by the said programs and department to foster the international reputation of your institution of higher education. I recently participated as a guest speaker in a symposium organized in London by the Center for Research in Modern European Philosophy, and prior to that I had often heard pf and read publications and praises of the philosophical activities at Middlesex, and I can only express my dismay at this unjustifiable decision: it seems, not only to scholars in philosophy but to all decision-makers in the academia, that “financial” reasons should never go against the long-term impact and positioning of a given department in an increasingly competitive and globalized academic scene in the humanities and social sciences. That publications and scholars from Middlesex be quoted in the highest-ranked international arenas in philosophy and literature, that the level of scholarship and pedagogical accomplishment reached at Middlesex outbid those at most Ivy-League universities in the US and at the best similar programs in Continental Europe, that a good number of the world’s most influential thinkers — including in matters of international relations and non-governmental politics — be either cooperating with this department or fully supportive of its activities, all of this altogether demonstrates that the department and Center in question are much less an unprofitable institution, or a nostalgic remnant of the “good old days” when philosophy was an academic priority, than they are, simply, an invaluable asset for both Middlesex University and the larger UK academic system, to the extent that the latter remains interested in being truly influential and playing some role in the globalized academic and scientific scenes.

In view of the above, I along with many academics and reknown intellectuals in both Continental Europe and North America can only express our amazement at such an ill-fitted and strategically wrong decision.


François Cusset
Professor at University of Western Paris
Director of Master’s Programs in English

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