Writing in Medium, the Chair, Professor Brandon Hamber shared his views on the recent controversies surrounding statues of the past.
The article entitled “Statues Don’t Teach History, They Applaud It” begins:
“Recently I saw a piece quoting the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, Louise Richardson, saying removing from Oriel College the statue of Cecil John Rhodes, the colonial administrator and financier, risks hiding history. The UK Prime Minister has also expressed the view, in a series of Tweets noting, particularly in relation to the statue of Winston Churchill, that “statues teach us about our past, with all its faults”. Am I the only one who thinks this is nonsense? Statues are not about history or pedagogy but commemoration. Should we commemorate people like Cecil John Rhodes today?
If the Vice-Chancellor is so concerned about history you can take down the statue and leave a large plinth explaining Rhodes brutal history and Oxford’s relationship with colonialism. Or better still teach history in one of the esteemed colleges, or make a podcast, a movie or build a website, or even consult a book. I don’t learn history from statues. Does anyone? Statues tell us who society values and about the values of those commemorated.”
To read the full article, click here.