Seattle Weekly November 26 - December
Education: When Freedom Is Academic
The postcolonial U.S. Congress wants a say in the curricula of postcolonial studies.
POSTCOLONIAL STUDIES is the broad academic field that scrutinizes the experience of people who were
subjected to colonial rule. Indian-born Salman Rushdie is postcolonial. Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini tried to kill him, and he
was postcolonial, too.
The University of Washington is not postcolonial, but like Rushdie and Khomeini, its postcolonial-studies
stock is soaring. The university's Title VI grants for language and area studies grew to a record $3.5 million this year,
up from $2.9 million in 2002.
But to paraphrase Dickens (not postcolonial), the best of times for the University of Washington is
also the worst of times. Congress is debating legislation that would give the Department of Homeland Security a key role in
administering area-studies centers across the nation. With its many area-studies and language offerings, in subjects as diverse
as Urdu and Finnish, UW is bracing for the new law. ...
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