Brown University this fall added Chinua Achebe to the faculty of its Africana Studies Department. Achebe is a prominent postcolonial writer from Nigeria who has called Joseph Conrad a "bloody racist" and claimed his classic work, Heart of Darkness, celebrates the dehumanization of Africans. Achebe believes this reflects a widespread, deep-seated atttitude by Westerners toward Africa. This is all the more alarming because the university says Achebe is the first of many hires it plans to make, in order to expand Africana Studies, according to the Brown Daily Herald. As the Foundation for Intellectual Diversity points out, it's not like the University has been ignoring Africana Studies:
At the Foundation for Intellectual Diversity, we have to wonder what could possibly lead Brown administrators and faculty to think they have neglected Africana Studies. Brown has a Department of Africana Studies with 14 full-faculty members—not counting seven visiting and affiliated professors. In addition, Brown has the Third World Center, The Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the Africa Group Colloquium, and the university recently sponsored the Focus on Africa speaker series as well as the Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice. All are related to Africana studies.
For the full press release click here. The Providence Journal also ran a story in today's paper about this issue and the Ocean State Policy Research Institute has been blogging about it as well.