Cambridge University wants student to ‘decolonise the dodo’ in new project

The University of Cambridge could “decolonise the dodo” under a new tax-payer funded project.

It wants a PhD student to examine its plants and animals to look for imperial connections in its Museum of Zoology.

The student would be tasked with setting out how everything from tigers through to dodos could be linked to the “European colonial story”.

The project would focus on racial ideas, “violent” colonial activity and “resource exploitation,” reports The Telegraph.

The aim of the role, the advertisement says, is to present the botany and zoology museum as more diverse tin a bid to make people “feel represented by museums”.

The project itself is part of the university’s effort to address its own “legacies of enslavement and empire”. It will be supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, a body that distributes taxpayer cash.

The advert says the collections have “some of the world’s most celebrated animals and plants, from tigers to dodos and rhododendrons and tea.”

It adds: “Such specimens in our collections represent how colonial histories and environmental histories became tied to the same processes.”

It continues: “The outcomes of this project will be significant. They have the potential to help shape how the natural history museum sector grapples with understanding its colonial legacy.

“A far greater diversity of people were involved in the history of science – and society – than has traditionally been acknowledged.

“In this way it is hoped that more people will feel represented by museums.

“Cambridge’s natural history collections have always supported pioneering scientific research, but their potential for researching imperial cultural history is only just beginning to be realised.”

The role comes with a £19,000 stipend.

One suggested area to look at is the uncredited work of indigenuos figures who helped botanists and zoologists grow their collections.

The project could also, The Telegraph reported, look at “violent colonial history” as well as the human and environmental costs of colonialism.

It gives a list of areas where there could be colonial links, including the dodo collection. The bird became extinct in the 17th century after Europeans arrived in Mauritius.

The researcher would have access to the university herbarium. It says this would allow them to examine the colonial connections of tea and rhododendrons.

Reform UK MP Lee Anderson says universities should “concentrate on solving present day problems” as opposed to “wasting resources to decolonise the dodo”.

The University of Cambridge has been contacted for comment.

SOURCE

Leave a Comment

asu asu asu asu asu asu asu asu asu asu asu asu asu asu asu

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t a14t