TOEBI statement on racism and Black Lives Matter

TOEBI believes that Black lives matter. The society recognises the many failures, present and historic, to support and listen to Black academics, both in academia generally and within our own field specifically, and that these failures contribute to a larger system of oppression against Black people. As a society, our aim is to promote the teaching of Old English in universities, and we commit to fostering an environment supportive of Black scholars, scholars of colour, and scholars from other ethnically marginalised backgrounds, including Irish Travellers. At this year’s TOEBI meeting, we will formally designate a session on work in anti-racism, participation and outreach. Speakers will be invited to present on relevant projects, issues and initiatives. In the future, we will do more to amplify diverse voices and the work of BIPOC scholars, and we particularly welcome their submissions to our annual newsletter.

Our society is also committed to raising the public profile of our field. On both ethical and intellectual grounds, we strongly reject the misuse and appropriation of medieval texts and symbolism for the creation of racist and xenophobic narratives.

We have work to do. Scholars privileged by race and by other characteristics have an obligation to learn more, and to support marginalised colleagues and students. The 2017 bibliography on race and medieval studies crowdsourced by Jonathan Hsy and Julie Orlemanski provides a valuable starting point: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41280-017-0072-0. For further resources on anti-racism, see this project page from Dr. Cooke at the University of South Carolina: https://padlet.com/nicolethelibrarian/nbasekqoazt336co .

You can find a broader statement of TOEBI’s values and our anti-harassment policy here.