James (Gareth) letter

30 April

Dear Vice-Chancellor of the University, Michael Driscoll; Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise, Waqar Ahmad; Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Margaret House; Dean of the School of Arts & Education, Ed Esche,

I am writing to express my extreme dismay at the news that Middlesex intends to close its philosophy department.

I am an artist and professor of art, currently at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. I have previously held positions at Columbia University, where I was Chair of Visual Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program, and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Arts and Sciences, amongst others.

News of this appalling decision has spread internationally with uncommon speed due to the enormous respect and admiration that the faculty and the curriculum of your philosophy department have earned through their research and their pedagogical commitment.

Personally, I take constant recourse to the writing of numerous members of the faculty including that of Alliez, Hallward, Osborne, and Martin for my own research practice, and there is probably not a single class I teach which doesn’t employ their work. They are leading philosophers in their fields, whose work is simply not duplicated in North America.

Everyone that I have communicated with about this, in North America and Europe, has expressed shock and a great deal of anger that Middlesex would even consider closing a department that any university ought to treasure. A great deal of the anger is no doubt based upon the fact that the decision can only be seen to have an ideological basis when the department not only has great international prestige across many disciplinary fields, but is also in excellent standing in terms of the evaluations it has received from the its research evaluations and from students alike.

It is difficult to think of a decision that would damage Middlesex’s reputation on the global stage more than if it goes ahead with this proposal. I therefore strongly urge you to reverse the decision.


Gareth James
University of British Columbia

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