Williams (Gareth) letter

29 April 2010

Dear Vice-Chancellor Driscoll, Vice-Chancellor Ahmad, Vice Chancellor House and Dean Esche:

I am writing because it has been brought to my attention that you have decided to close all programs in Philosophy, together with the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, at Middlesex University.  I take this opportunity to express my extreme disappointment, consternation and disagreement with your decision.

I am an Associate Professor of Romance Languages & Literatures at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  I am, however, a citizen of the United Kingdom and therefore have had direct experience of how undervalued philosophical reflection is at all levels of the British education system.  After twenty five years living and teaching  in the United States, please let me assure you that the only reason anyone in the United States has heard of Middlesex University is because of its programs in Philosophy, the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, and the invaluable work of its flagship publication, Radical Philosophy.

Philosophy at Middlesex is an internationally respected beacon of light.  I am an expert in modern and contemporary Latin American literature and cultural politics, with particular emphasis on their relation to the traditions of Western political philosophy and critical theory.  I tell all my graduate students that they have to not only familiarize themselves with the debates generated by Radical Philosophy, but that they have to make the publication a central part of their professional development, a central part of their intellectual life.  I have been saying this for years.  Such is the influence of this publication beyond your shores.

I left the U.K. at the height of Prime Minister Thatcher’s decimation of the humanities and social sciences in the 1980s.  Needless to say, I consider your decision to close Philosophy at Middlesex University to be a continuation and a confirmation of the blatant philistinism of those years.  Your decision works for the intellectual impoverishment of the European university system as a whole.  And it condemns the name and prestige of Middlesex University to absolute anonymity and obscurity here in the United States.  In conclusion, I urge you to reconsider your decision.

Yours Sincerely,

Gareth Williams

Associate Professor of Spanish and
Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Department of Romance Languages & Literatures
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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