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Oxford University's St John's college recruiting for academic to examine its colonial past


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St John’s College at the University of Oxford is recruiting for a research assistant to examine its involvement in colonialism.


This will be the first time any college at Oxford has researched into its involvement in colonialism and could inspire others to follow suit.   

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The position is for a fixed two-year period and will involve the successful candidate working on a research project called ‘St John’s and the Colonial Past’, which is being funded by the College and led by Professor William Whyte.


According to the role description, as listed on, “this project will explore connections between the college and colonialism, uncovering benefactions to St John’s and the alumni who served in the empire. It will also investigate the monuments, objects, pictures, buildings that evoke the colonial past.


Several other universities have pledged to decolonise their institutions, including SOAS, University of London, who say they are reviewing their curriculum and challenging any Eurocentrism.

The push to ‘decolonise’ universities has been growing in recent years, following the student-led Rhodes Must Fall movement which started in 2015. What was initially a series of campaigns to have statues of British imperialist Cecil Rhodes removed from campuses later led to students, including those at Oxford, fighting to get their universities to decolonise their campuses and curriculums.

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