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The colonial legacy in Cambridge Assessment literature syllabi

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/04/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Curriculum Perspectives
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)7-17
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date3/01/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This study analyzes the literature syllabi of Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE), a highly influential international education organization that determines curricula and conducts examinations for nearly one million students annually. Although CAIE describes its syllabi as internationalized and free from cultural bias and discrimination, little research has been conducted to confirm or reject these claims. Using a framework of postcolonial feminism and postdevelopment theory, this study analyzes author representation in CAIE literature syllabi to reveal potential colonial and patriarchal dimensions. We analyze the six CAIE literature syllabi in terms of author nationality, world region, and gender. The results indicate a clear bias in favor of European male authors and a consistent underrepresentation of women authors from the Global South. Authors of the MENA region are entirely excluded from the syllabi. Women authors from Latin America are also almost entirely absent. The study concludes that CAIE literature syllabi are not sufficiently international or multicultural, but instead reflects the continued legacy of colonial relations between British education and the Global South. Since the colonial era, CAIE has continued to enact banking education at a global scale by conceiving of the Global South as lacking in literature worthy of study. In order to begin to decolonize their literature syllabi, we suggest that CAIE should draw from diverse literature throughout World Englishes, especially literature written by women authors in the Global South.