Sunday, 31 January 2010
Threat to Palaeography at KCL
Palaeography is a discipline which lies at the heart of what we do in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic. Therefore, it is with great alarm that we read of the threat to palaeographical teaching and research at King's College London. KCL has the only established Chair of Palaeography in Britain, and its present incumbent, Prof. David Ganz, has been told that funding for his position will cease at the end of this academic year. This is part of a wider movement of 'strategic disinvestment' (i.e. job cuts) by KCL, and rumours abound that 22 academics from the Arts and Humanities alone stand to lose their jobs. Indeed, an eminent linguistic philosopher, Prof. Shalom Lappin, has also been informed that his job will no longer be funded after August of this year. Unless undergraduate and graduate students are taught palaeographical skills, and unless academic palaeographers continue to research and publish on all aspects of historical forms of writing, our ability to read and understand historical documents - the skill which lies at the heart of all historical inquiry - will cease. A Facebook group has been formed to support the study of palaeography at KCL, and to encourage people to write to the principal of KCL in protest at this shortsighted move.