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The Death of Anglo-Saxon England

1,820 words

. . . and there was great slaughter on either side. There were killed King Harold, and Earl Leofwine his brother, and Earl Gyrth his brother, and many good men. And the French had possession of the place of slaughter . . .

— The Worcester Manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

Unlike the unflinching Housecarls who encircled their dying King on Senlac Hill, and the stern and silent Silverati guerilla warriors who flocked to Hereward the Wake in the Fens to oppose William the Bastard’s seizure of their Anglo-Saxon realm, the spineless academics who deign to describe themselves as experts in the Anglo-Saxon period of history have fled the cultural battlefield in what can only be described as an act of abject surrender.

What’s in a name, you might say? Quite a lot, actually, and that is why I was utterly dismayed to receive the following communique from the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (ISAS):

Dear members,

Thanks to the 434 of you who voted. With 582 current active members, that is a turnout of almost 75%. Here are the results.

Question 1: Should we amend Article 6 by adding the word ‘demographic’?

YES 342 (78.8%)

NO 56

ABSTAIN 35

This amends Article 6 of the constitution, a vote that required a 25% turnout (= 145.5) and a simple majority. Article 6 will now read: “For each vacancy, the Executive Committee and Advisory Board shall nominate two candidates, taking into consideration the need for balanced demographic, disciplinary and geographical representation on the Board.” This change will allow us to better represent our membership and ensure a voice for underrepresented colleagues in our governance. However, I am of the opinion that Article 6 needs further emendation, before the next election, to avoid repeating the problems of the past.

Question 2: Should ISAS change its name? (61.5%)

YES 267

NO 130

ABSTAIN 37

There will of course follow a process for suggesting, discussing, and selecting a new name.

Both questions had passed with quorum within 24 hours. Clearly, you were ready for this decision. Over the course of the week, the ratio of yes to no votes remained fairly consistent (ie, 2:1 for the name change and a landslide for demographic representation). The message to the board is clear.

In my email update of Sept. 12, I mentioned that I was receiving many requests from people wishing to “join in order to vote.” I misspoke, and I apologize. What I meant is that folks were struggling to log into the membership database, there were numerous requests for email and password changes, members were paying dues, etc. I mentioned this because I have been receiving an exceptional volume of email and asked your patience, and because I do think it important to note how many ISAS members, at all stages of the profession, made an effort to vote. A grand total of two new members did manage to slip through the cracks and vote.

Over the last week, I have received eight individual requests to change one’s vote (not counting chatter on the listserv about doing this). I have changed no votes in order to avoid charges of tampering with the results. I also hope that everyone involved in the listserv discussion has reflected on the fact that Adam Miyashiro raised many of these issues two years ago, and then spelled them out for us in a plenary talk at the conference this summer. And yet, for some it took hearing the same message both from white scholars and in the right tone of voice to make it stick.

The members of the advisory board now wish to convey our apologies and our gratitude in the following statement:

We are writing to you with a heartfelt apology for all the hurt that our inaction and lack of transparency have caused and perpetuated.

To Mary Rambaran-Olm, we thank you for your many contributions to ISAS during your time in office, and we are sorry that it took your resignation to light a proverbial fire under the board. We have not been as quick to respond to criticism in the past as we could have been. We now commit to do better.

We apologize to our colleagues of color who have experienced the name of our society as just one of many microagressions they have faced in academia. We were unable to hold a vote on the name change at the meeting in New Mexico because we felt it was important to have quorum on this referendum. At the same time, we made you wait too long for change.

We are sorry that so many of our colleagues have felt marginalized and unwelcome within ISAS, including early career researchers. We are also saddened that so many members who represent the future of the field have resigned from the organization. We cannot move forward without you and hope to regain your trust. Along with the name change referendum this week, we also held a vote on whether to amend the constitution in hopes that before the next election, we can better represent our membership and ensure a voice for underrepresented colleagues in our governance.

We also apologize to victims of harassment who have felt unsafe within ISAS. Our committee is working hard to prepare a policy on sexual harassment.

Mary’s resignation has raised difficult questions that will require a longer process of self-reckoning and evaluation on the part of the Society. While we have already been working toward resolving some of these issues, clearly much more needs to be done. The board pledges to effect changes to the way the Society is run, and to be more responsive and open in its interaction with members. We are grateful for your support.

With that, I resign as your Executive Director.

Robin Norris

As Second Vice President of ISAS, Mary Rambaran-Olm indulged so-called researchers by allowing papers with titles like “Myth-making the ‘Anglo-Saxon’: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and Medieval Heritage Politics,” which was by one Adam Miyashiro, an Associate Professor of English at Stockton University, and subjected conference attendees to lecturers such as Leslie Spier, Distinguished Professor of Archaeology at the University of New Mexico, who waxed lyrically about “The Middle Ages in New Mexico: A Perspective from Chaco Canyon.” Having mistakenly appointed a non-entity like this was insufficient for some people, and thus the Society has agreed to change their name.

This was all because Rambaran-Olm – who describes herself as an active member of the Medievalists of Color organization, which seeks to mentor, foster individual and academic growth, and encourage diversity in the field of Medieval Studies – believes her chosen subject “has always had problems, not unlike any other field . . . we seem to be one of the least equipped and slow to move ourselves into the twenty-first century with regard to tackling racism, sexism, inclusiveness, representation.” In comments she addressed to Inside Higher Ed and in her own writing, she pontificated that her discipline is rife with elitism, bullying, and discrimination, and that graduate students and early-career researchers in particular either suffer it or leave. This independent scholar went on to say in an e-mail about ISAS that “[t]here was no way we were going to be able to ‘fix’ the multitude of problems in the field, but as the field’s largest organization we should have moved more quickly to address the glaring issues which might then send a message to the field and more importantly to victims who we owe this to.” Rambaran-Olm claimed that there are some examples of members of ethnic, religious, or sexual minorities succeeding in Anglo-Saxon studies, “but very often they fit the mold and it is often the case that these individuals are ‘allowed’ in by gatekeepers.”

This was said by a supposed “academic” whose own research interests include Race and Critical Race Studies in Anglo-Saxon Studies in the Post-Colonial Caribbean, and has or is writing monographs such as Race in Early Medieval England, which “aims to enhance our understanding of race, ‘othering’ and their relationship to various religious groups spanning the entirety of the Early Medieval period in England,” and Straight Outta Context: Race and Periodization in Early Medieval England, which articulates Rambaran-Olm’s view that Early English Studies (formerly Anglo-Saxon Studies) “is both founded on and operates within the parameters of white supremacy.”

Her resignation from ISAS was quickly supported by Irina Dumitrescu, a Professor of English and Medieval Studies at the University of Bonn, who also publicly resigned from ISAS’s advisory board. Dumitrescu’s resignation letter accusing the society of refusing “to deal with certain pressing issues (such as greater inclusion in governance, protections of sexual predators and abusers, lack of clear complaint policy), and slowness in others.” Along with Joshua Eyler, a medievalist who is currently the Director of Faculty Development at the University of Mississippi, she insisted, “We must listen to the loud calls coming from many angles by medievalists of color, LGBT scholars, early-career scholars and more.” These opinions are no doubt shared by Ayanna Thompson, the Director of the statewide Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and a member of the RaceB4Race executive committee, who is naturally sympathetic to “pre-modern scholars of color working on issues of race in pre-modern literature, history and culture.”

These are people whose views have been contributing to the contemptuously simplistic mindset propagated by some agitators who claim that the very term “Anglo-Saxonist” is “problematic.” In a statement, ISAS’ advisory board said of the proposed name change that “[i]t has sometimes been used outside the field to describe those holding repugnant and racist views, and has contributed to a lack of diversity among those working on early medieval England and its intellectual and literary culture.” This view has only been tepidly countered by Richard Utz, Chair of the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who responded to Inside Higher Ed by stating that he supports diversity, but rejected “the dotted line the letter of concern insinuates between the faculty of the Medieval Institute, on the one hand, and the racist neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville, Va., on the other.” No doubt Rambaran-Olm and her cohorts of orc look-a-likes consider the giants of Anglo-Saxon studies, such as Sir Frank Merry Stenton, who penned his magnum opus Anglo-Saxon England (1943); J. R. R. Tolkien, with his groundbreaking interpretation of Beowulf entitled The Monsters and the Critics (1936); and Sir Frank Barlow’s classic biography Edward the Confessor (1970) to be the equivalent of card-carrying members of the Nazi Party.

This happened to coincide with a student event at the University of Edinburgh which was organized by the Resisting Whiteness “collective” – that describes itself as a queer, trans, and people of color organization – which formally restricted the right of white students to speak. This should give us all pause for thought about our future, most especially in light of Lenin’s saying, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted,” as well as Stalin’s: “Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.”

13 Comments

  1. Peter Gast
    Posted October 12, 2019 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    I’m an Anglo-Saxonist (never a part of ISAS, although I know people who resigned because of the present nonsense), and I’m equally dismayed and frustrated by what’s going on. I’d also add that there’s a strong gender bias among these “woke” scholars: the conversation is increasingly dominated by neurotic women from non-white backgrounds. Their status as women and minorities makes them virtually immune from serious criticism. Many men I know in the field despise them and their fake scholarship, but choose to keep their mouths shut for fear of repercussions. I’m honestly torn between staying or leaving academia at this point.

  2. Alexandra O.
    Posted October 11, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    OH!MY!GOD! I cannot believe I have read what I have just read! Now, we have people of color and other gruesome modernist views contaminating “Anglo-Saxon” and other “Medievalist” Studies and academic disciplines? Well, I admit, I am not a scholar in this field, though I have a B.A. in Art History, an M.A. in Library ‘Science’ and a minor in Russian History, as well as DNA testing that situates me as 29% English, 55% Irish and 14% ‘miscellaneous’ Northern European, so I have some smattering of Anglo Saxon blood to protect! Good grief, it is difficult to read that things have progressed this far in academia as to have allowed the disciplines that are directly related to us poor disintegrating white people, to be further attacked and splintered in this way.
    In attempting to digest this information, I realize we cannot restrict ‘academic freedom’ by saying only ‘white’ people can study “The Middle Ages In England” or be a member of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists — though this would surely be a great first step — but surely the remaining minority of those who voted against these absurd new strictures to the Society could reform themselves into another, more cloistered grouping. Other than that, I will need time to digest this ‘news’, though I am thoroughly thrilled that you have shared this episode with us, to let us all know how far the attacks have progressed. I can only hope you will expand this information into book form.

    • Fenek Solere
      Posted October 14, 2019 at 5:21 am | Permalink

      Dear Alexandra,
      I am always very grateful for your intellectually informed and positive responses not only to my articles but to the deep felt sentiments I try to express and you clearly share. It is people like yourself that make our efforts (contributors and writers, I mean) to support CC and the cause of white racial justice feel worthwhile and noble.
      Best Wishes
      FS

      • Alexandra O.
        Posted October 14, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

        Thank you for your gracious reply. I have since ordered two of the three books listed in your post as central to Anglo-Saxon scholarship, by Stenton and Tolkien, and am awaiting their arrival. I am also gathering together a small library of books on English history and European history and culture, mainly from books I find for sale at my local (Southern California) library book sales. It is amazing what is being thrown out of libraries today as ‘no longer relevant’ and no longer ‘being checked out’. Plus the myriads of donations to libraries which are not being put on the shelves (not being ‘accessioned’ for use) and instead put up for sale to raise money, I imagine for ‘books more relevant to today’s readers’. (I just found “The Bell Curve”, which I did not yet have due to its high price online, and in excellent condition, for 50 cents!) I also did the same in England this summer when I visited friends in Sheffield and made the rounds of the many ‘charity shops’ there. I have become so aware of what is of interest to contemporary readers and how our history books, often beautifully illustrated, are NOT of interest. This is what has pushed me ever so steadily much further ‘right’ over the past five years. I definitely feel ‘at home’ at CC, where I can find the latest thoughts and experiences of authors such as yourself.

  3. Wuntz Moore
    Posted October 9, 2019 at 7:24 pm | Permalink
  4. Posted October 9, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    OOPS — apologies for the error in handling the code in my comment, I hope you will fix it for me.

  5. Posted October 9, 2019 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this article!

    This is of course just part of the process of White Genocide, which was the focus we took, naturally enough, at Fight White Genocide.

    <a href="https://www.fightwhitegenocide.com/2019/09/30/diversity-chases-down-medievalist-scholars-and-forces-them-to-apologize-for-being-white-and-committing-microaggressions/&quot; title="Diversity chases down scholars of Medieval England, forcing them to apologize for their non-inclusivity and white “microaggressions”“>

  6. Edward Bridle
    Posted October 9, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    I am myself an Anglo-Saxonist, educated in the tradition of Stenton and Tolkien by men who had known both of them. I have never been a member of the ISAS – not being much given to joining things anyway – but this, while deeply disappointing, comes as no surprise. Academia is over-run by the mindless votaries of the god/dess Diversity. Anything which even references the traditions or heritage of the Northern nations of Europe is bound to draw the fire of those whose real purpose is to obliterate those traditions, and most of those who worship that false divinity are already conditioned not to defend them.

  7. Richard
    Posted October 9, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Whats transpiring in England is heartbreaking. I never thought that Western Europe would fall at such an accelerated pace. I was recently in London and took an evening stroll throughout Regent’s Park. While aware of the Islamification of Londonistan, seeing it with your own eyes is a powerful and awakening experience. It was like walking through a sea of black blobs – nearly every woman in the park that evening was covered with a burqa. I nearly forget that I was in London and not Raqqa.

    Just when you think that things can’t get more bizarre, the rabid cultural Marxists now proclaim that the English countryside is “too white” and are seeking to increase the number of ethnic minority visitors.

    https://www.defendevropa.com/2019/news/english-countryside-too-white/

  8. nineofclubs
    Posted October 9, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    An awful situation. One can only hope that, after academia implodes under the weight of its own distortions, a new generation of inquiring minds arise to sift the history of our people from the ashes of this degenerate era.

    • Richard
      Posted October 9, 2019 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      There’s no doubt that academia is about to implode and it will devastate the Left. What’s terrifying is how academia is the largest employer in nearly a third of the United States. Furthermore, what’s infuriating is how academia — along with the MIC — are leeches and sucking our nation dry.

      I recommend reading https://www.zerohedge.com/personal-finance/walmart-nation-continues-bleed-jobs and pay careful attention to the diagram of the largest employers by state.

      • nineofclubs
        Posted October 10, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the reference. As an Australian, it’s quite surprising to see whole states in the US where employment is dominated by universities.

        In Australia, university education is now a ticket to debt (via student loans) and/or a student visa which can be leveraged into permanent residency by any of the million-and-one shady immigration agencies operating here.

        What’s not clear however is whether university educated people are more competent in their work, or even better rounded as individuals, than those who finished high school and went straight into employment. The pity is that so many jobs which formerly had a ‘ground floor’ entry level – with no or few qualification requirements – are now closed to anyone without a degree.

        Older Australian trade unionists fought against this trend because ordinary workers could not afford to send their kids to university – and it was believed that workers with merit shouldn’t be excluded from jobs they could do with adequate on-the-job training. Unfortunately today, the liberal (fake) left dominates the union movement and it no longer attempts to keep jobs open to school leavers.

        Higher education now seems just like any other business in this country – and apparently it’s much the same in America.

        • Richard
          Posted October 11, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          You’re welcome and thank you for the information on Australia. I didn’t realize that things were that bad there in regards to higher education. It appears that the parallelities between the USA and Australia aren’t as extreme as one might have thought. Similarly to Australia, many of US-based employers require a college degree for even the most menial jobs. It’s a travesty.

          Furthermore, per the diagram on the largest employers per state, many of the healthcare conglomerates are intertwined with universities. For example, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is the largest employer in the state of Pennsylvania. UPMC is a subsidiary of the University of Pittsburgh and a recipient of many, significantly-sized grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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