62.5% of students say School of Social Sciences and Philosophy Curriculum is too Western-centric

Nearly two thirds of the respondents felt that the curriculum should be less Western-centric, with 22.9% feeling strongly

According to a new survey, 62.5% of students at the School of Social Science and Philosophy believe that the curriculum is largely Western-centric.

The survey conducted by the school convenor for Social Sciences and Philosophy (SSP), found that 71.8% of students agreed that the curriculum was western-centric, with 26% strongly agreeing, and 13.6% disagreeing.

Nearly two thirds of the respondents felt that the curriculum should be less Western-centric, with 22.9% feeling strongly. Another 22.9% of respondents did not agree that the curriculum was too Western focused.

When asked for any other thoughts on the matter, one respondent to the survey commented on the “absence of Latin-American literature in Trinity library”.

“Lecturers should address the racism and Eurocentric viewpoint perpetuated by a lot of philosophers and philosophical theories that we have to study at the beginning of the topic,” another respondent said.

Other areas which respondents said the curriculum could incorporate more included Asian philosophy, LGBTQ+ politics, South American politics and thought, feminist thought, Middle Eastern and North African philosophy and politics, and African politics and philosophy, as well as issues of identity, gender and race.

96 students respondents took part in the survey, which was sent out to all course mailing lists. The survey was conducted by school convenor László Molnárfi, and fellow student Yasmin Almehaideb.

In a statement to Trinity News, Almehaideb said: “Students deserve a diversified curriculum, it will not only open their minds but give a richer more inclusive education which I think is what our current curriculum lacks.”

Molnárfi added: “Education is an extremely powerful tool. However, it is important to know where accepted narratives and viewpoints come from.”

“I hope that College will support these efforts at decolonisation rather than being reactionary,” he continued.

Calls for a more diverse curriculum echo recent campaigns pushing Trinity to address its colonial legacy. In August, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) called an immediate re-naming of the Berkeley Library, due to the slave-owing past of the library’s namesake, George Berkeley.

In 2021, the Trinity Colonial Legacies project was announced by College. The two-year project aims to “contextualise and historicize the university’s deep links to colonialism both in Ireland itself and in the wider world”.

The project also seeks to “raise awareness of College’s physical and intellectual colonial legacies, monuments, and endowments in the present”.

Charlotte Kent

Charlotte Kent is the Co-News Editor at Trinity News and a Senior Freshman PPES Student.