Leftists Seek to Purge ‘Anglo-Saxon’ from History, Claim Term ‘Bound Up with White Supremacy’

A general view of a statue of Alfred The Great on February 6, 2013 in Winchester, England
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Leftists academics are pushing to erase the term “Anglo-Saxon” from the study of history, claiming it is “inextricably bound up with pseudohistorical accounts of white supremacy”.

One such academic is Mary Rambaran-Olm, whose Academia page describes her as an “active member of the Medievalists of Color organization”. Her areas of interest include such topics as “Race and Critical Race Studies in Anglo-Saxon Studies” and “Anglo-Saxon Studies in the Post-Colonial Caribbean”.

Ms Rambaran-Olm claimed in comments to The Times: “Generally white supremacists use the term to make some sort of connection to their heritage (which is inaccurate) or to make associations with ‘whiteness’ but they also habitually misuse it to try and connect themselves to a warrior past.”

“The term ‘Anglo-Saxon’ is inextricably bound up with pseudohistorical accounts of white supremacy, and gives aid and comfort to contemporary white supremacists. Scholars of medieval history must abandon it,” concurred John Overholt, a curator at Harvard’s Houghton Library.

Rambaran-Olm and her allies are not lone voices shouting into the void. Until recently, she was vice-president of the long-established International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, or ISAS, resigning in high dudgeon when the body refused to change its name to remove the reference to Anglo-Saxons.

Other left-liberal academics soon followed, resulting in a minor Twitter storm which ISAS soon caved in to.

In an email obtained by the Washington Post, ISAS executive director Robin Norris wrote to members: “We apologize to our colleagues of color who have experienced the name of our society as just one of many microaggressions they have faced in academia.”

In a statement posted to its website, ISAS grovelled that it “has long been recognised that the term ‘Anglo-Saxonist’ is problematic” and 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”.

A name change will now be implemented as “expeditiously as possible”.

The Times, for its part, published an editorial opposing the left’s attempts to rewrite history, observing: “The historian Tom Holland said that dropping the word would be ‘mad as a bag of ferrets’. He tweeted that ‘Anglo-Saxon’ was historically accurate because it was used by the Anglo-Saxons themselves… The job of academia is not to obscure the truth by banning historical phrases. It is to ferret it out.”

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