Opposing the School of Languages and Literatures at University of Toronto sign now

A Strategic Planning Committee at the University of Toronto has recently proposed an amalgamation of the Italian, East Asian, German, Slavic, Spanish & Portuguese, and Comparative Literature Departments into a new "School of Languages and Literatures." This merger would effectively mean dissolution of the East Asian Studies Department by moving all language and literature professors into this new school while the remaining faculty members will be transferred to other disciplines. Therefore, the EAS program - as well as Slavic Studies, Italian Studies, etc. - at the University of Toronto would cease to exist. The Centre for Comparative Literature would also be re-assigned to the School of Languages and Literatures where it will be re-defined as a Collaborative Program. Programs such as Diaspora and Transnational Studies would be dissolved.

We, the undersigned, are strongly opposed to this proposal. We believe the amalgamation of these departments into one single program, along with the dissolution of their current interdisciplinary aspects, is shortsighted and lacking in intellectual rationale. Although we recognize that the faculty is currently facing a large deficit, we predict this move will be detrimental and cause financial repercussions for the university. A broad School of Languages and Literatures will not encourage the number of enrolments that dedicated programs like East Asian Studies currently have, and it will not attract the level of graduate scholarship currently found within such programs as the Centre for Comparative Literature.

We are against this proposed shift from students studying regions in great depth with broad perspectives (through a combination of history, political science, religion, anthropology, languages, etc) to forcing students to study a region through a singular lens within one discipline. We are also concerned for the status of literature within this school, as it appears that literature will become primarily a tool in the study of language, and studies of literature within historical and social contexts will no longer occur. Language alone would essentially become the primary mode of study of a region, with all other components of regional study becoming secondary. This is an antiquated method of regional study and one that the faculty has diverged from in the past decade. It is this diversion that has attracted esteemed faculty to the university, and caused an increase in enrolment numbers in programs such as EAS, as well as earned respect from the wider community.

For these reasons, and others, we strongly protest the dissolution of regional departments into a School of Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto.

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Latest Signatures

  • 23 December 2015200. Zahra Y
    I support this petition
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  • 07 October 2015193. Leo Lappangc
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  • 05 October 2015192. Robin S
    This is a step backwards for the U of T. The EAS program was only one of a handful in Canada and by dropping this program, it will be a black eye for the U of T. What does the extinction of the EAS program say to the Asian communities across Canada and No
  • 04 October 2015191. Sam D
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  • 21 July 2015188. Karen Sm
    Comparative study of literature is one of the primary means by which generations have learned to reason critically. This has bonuses across a lot of areas outside of literature itself. Society at large requires individuals who can reason broadly and criti
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  • 30 January 2015174. Anthony Des
    It is part of our legacy

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Avis KaneBy:
Transport and infrastructureIn:
Petition target:
The Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences

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