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    UCL Faces Race: Why is my curriculum white?

    By Kilian Thayaparan, on 21 November 2014

    Greek philosophy headsHaving heard interesting things about the ‘Why isn’t my professor black?’ live panel discussion that took place earlier this year, I was intrigued to find out what new points and suggestions would be put forward by the Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Students’ Network, this time as they attempted to answer the question: ‘Why is my curriculum white?’.

    In doing so, the aim was to begin to address a worrying finding from the NUS Black Students Campaign National Students Survey, which showed that “42% did not believe their curriculum reflected issues of diversity, equality and discrimination”.

    Standing before an energetic and enthusiastic mixed crowd, the first speaker introduced the audience to UCL, highlighting its self-given status as “London’s global university”.

    However, drawing attention to the fact that in its earlier years UCL was known as “London’s imperial university”, she argued that we haven’t moved from “imperial” to “global”, and that to achieve this, we need to examine and challenge the “Eurocentric nature” and “whiteness” of the curriculum.

    To illustrate this, the audience was shown a short film that explored some of the thoughts, experiences and suggestions of students concerning race and their studies. There were some quite worrying and often shocking recollections throughout.

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    Sexual Health: Intersections in politics and society

    By Guest Blogger, on 18 November 2014

    pencil-icon Written by Michael Espinoza, PhD candidate, UCL Institute of the Americas

    HIV virology testing form“By then, it was too late to hate him [for being gay].” – a self-described ‘former gay-basher’ reveals how he unknowingly befriended a gay man.

    This testimonial, part of a research project by Dr Richard Mole (UCL School of Slavonic Studies and Eastern European Studies), shows how a lack of human understanding can dictate how people relate to others whom they perceive as ‘different’. The difference in this instance involved sexuality and its relation to sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

    The first presenter was Professor Jonathan Bell (UCL Institute of the Americas), whose paper was titled The Economic Closet: healthcare, sexuality, and the politics of respectability during the AIDS crisis.

    Professor Bell discussed how healthcare politics in the 1980s saw gay rights leaders face two difficulties – one was the struggle against private health insurance companies and the other was the attempt to “adapt the socially-regressive and gendered New Deal safety net to their needs”.

    Not only did they have to accept that HIV positive gay men “had to be classified as disabled and unable to work to be entitled to welfare”, they also had to fight against profit-driven private health insurance companies who sought to portray HIV positive gay men as unproductive citizens who have “sexually promiscuous lifestyles” in order to deny their claims.

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    Archaeology and Contemporary Society

    By news editor, on 15 March 2012

    With on-going national debates about cultural identity, funding for the arts, planning and the environment, there is no doubt that archaeology has a role to play in contemporary society.

    On 12 March, the UCL Institute of Archaeology hosted a panel debate on this topic as part of a programme of events to mark its 75th anniversary.

    The debate was chaired by cultural analyst and consultant Professor Sara Selwood and the panellists represented a very diverse set of viewpoints on archaeology and the human past.

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    The Social Impact of Climate Change: An Archaeologist’s Perspective

    By news editor, on 6 February 2012

    Review of Professor Arlene Rosen‘s Inaugural Lecture on 30 January by Dr Andrew Garrard (UCL Institute of Archaeology).

    With increasing concern about global warming and climate change and its impact on future human generations, Arlene Rosen’s inaugural lecture as Professor of Environmental Archaeology was particularly pertinent.

    In this elegantly structured and very well illustrated presentation, she discussed an archaeologist’s perspective on the impact of climate change on societies at various stages in the past, and their frequent social and technological resilience and adaptability to environmental change.

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