Letter to Times Higher Education, published today, Thurs 6 May 2010
Times Higher Education has just published a post regarding the closure of our department, in which they reference the following protest letter, signed by 30 world-renowned Philosophy and Humanities scholars, all of whom have participated in our Centre’s events.
We the undersigned deplore the recent decision of Middlesex University to close its Philosophy programmes, including its prestigious and successful MAs. The abrupt closure of these programmes is a matter of national and indeed international concern. Not only does it contradict the stated commitment of Middlesex University to promote ‘research excellence’, it represents a startling stage in the impoverishment of Philosophy provision in the UK.
We have participated in events organised by the Philosophy group at Middlesex and we can testify to its unique combination of strengths, and to the significant and distinctive contribution it makes to philosophy in the UK. Its set of MA programmes is currently the largest in the UK. Philosophy is the highest research-rated subject at Middlesex University. In RAE 2008 Middlesex was rated first in philosophy among post-1992 universities, with 65% of its research activity judged “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”. It is widely recognised as one of the most important centres for the study of modern European philosophy anywhere in the English-speaking world. It is one of only a handful of Philosophy departments left in the UK that provides both research-driven and inclusive post-graduate teaching and supervision aimed at a wide range of students, specialist and non-specialist.
We call on Middlesex University to reverse this damaging and ill-judged decision to close its Philosophy programmes, and to renew its commitment to widening participation in education and to excellence in research.
- Keith Ansell-Pearson, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick
- Alain Badiou, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, École Normale Supérieure,
- Etienne Balibar, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Université de Paris-Nanterre & Distinguished Professor of Humanities, University of California Irvine
- Miguel Beistegui, Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick
- Andrew Benjamin, Professor of Critical Theory and Philosophical Aesthetics, Monash University
- Andrew Bowie, Professor of Philosophy and German, Royal Holloway, University of London
- Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, University of California at Berkeley
- Susan Buck-Morss, Jan Rock Zubrow ’77 Professor of Government Cornell University,
- Barbara Cassin, Directeur de Recherches, Centre National de la Recherche
- Simon Critchley, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department, New School for Social Research, New York
- Christopher Fynsk, Professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Thought and Director of the Centre for Modern Thought, University of Aberdeen
- Simon Glendinning, Reader in European Philosophy, London School of Economics & Director of the Forum for European Philosophy
- Boris Groys, Professor of Slavic and Russian Studies, New York University
- Michael Hardt, Professor of Literature, Duke University, NC
- Harry Harootunian Emeritus Professor of History, Chicago and New York Universities
- Joanna Hodge, Professor of Philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University
- Claude Imbert, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, École Normale Supérieure, Paris
- Mandy Merck, Professor of Media Arts, Royal Holloway, University of London
- Dermot Moran, Professor of Philosophy, University College Dublin
- Michael Moriarty FBA, Centenary Professor of French Literature and Thought, Queen Mary, University of London
- Antonio Negri, philosopher and political scientist
- Jacques Rancière, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Université de Paris VIII
- Kristin Ross, Professor of Comparative Literature, New York University
- Lynne Segal, Anniversary Professor, Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck College, University of London
- Peter Sloterdijk, Rektor der Staatlichen Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe
- Gayatri Spivak, University Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University, New York
- Isabelle Stengers, Professor of Philosophy, Université Libre de Bruxelles
- Peter Weibel, Chairman and CEO, ZKM/Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
- James Williams, Professor of European Philosophy, University of Dundee
- Slavoj Zizek, Co-Director of the International Centre for Humanities, School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London.