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Jeremy Corbyn has recently proposed thatBritish school children should be taught about the history of the realities ofBritish imperialism and colonialism. This would include the history of peopleof colour as components of, and contributors to, the British nation-state –rather than simply as enslaved victims of it. As Corbyn rightly noted: “Blackhistory is British history” – and hence its study should be part of thenational curriculum, not segregated in a single month each year.

杰里米·科尔宾最近提出,英国学校里的孩子应该被教授英帝国主义和殖民主义真实情形的历史。这将包括有色人种作为英国民族国家的组成部分和贡献者,而不仅仅被视为被奴役的受害者。科尔宾正确地指出:“黑人史也是英国史”,因此这方面的研究应该成为国家课程的一部分,而不是被分隔在每年的单一月份。

(译注:杰里米·科尔宾,Jeremy Corbyn,英国最大反对党工党党魁,激进左翼人士)

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‘Black history is British history’

‘黑人史也是英国史’

Corbyn’s proposals would not only begin toredress the phenomenal gulf between academic history and the English schoolcurriculum. They would also help students to see people of colour as historicalagents. The proposals may also help to challenge the exclusivist andessentialist ways in which students are taught to view both Britain and thewider world
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科尔宾的提议不只会开始弥合学术史和英国学校课程间的显著分歧。也能帮助学生将有色人种看成历史的代理人。这些提议通过同时教授学生英国和更广阔世界的观点,或许也能挑战排外主义者和本质主义者的方式。

These proposals, however, have been metwith the type of outrage many have come to expect from white, middle-aged,right-wing conservatives. According to the “bullish” Brexiteer and ConservativeMP Tom Loughton, Corbyn’s proposals demonstrated he was “ashamed” of his owncountry – and was more interested in “talking down” Britain rather thancelebrating “the immense amount of good we have done in the world over manycenturies”.

然而,这些提议已经遭遇到了中年白人右翼保守主义者所期望的那种怒火。根据“行情看涨”的英国脱欧支持者兼保守党议员汤姆·劳顿的说法,科尔宾的提议证明了他以自己的国家为“耻”,而且相比赞美“英国好几百年来对世界做过的大量好事”,他更大的兴趣在于“贬低”英国。



A battle between revolting slaves andcolonial soldiers at the plantation Bachelor’s Adventure in the DemeraraProvince of British Guiana. Shutterstock

(图解:造反的奴隶和殖民地士兵间的一场战役,英属圭亚那德梅拉拉省“学士的冒险”种植园)

“Bad things”, according to Loughton, undoubtedly happened in the nameof empire, but Britain should be proud of its many legacies – including itsrole in abolishing the global slave trade. Not to be outdone, the equallybullish Brexiteer Jacob Rees Mogg trotted out Britain’s abolition of the slavetrade on Nick Ferrari’s LBC show. He also noted that while there were “blots”on Britain’s colonial history it had some “good bits” that were “reallywonderful”.

按照劳顿的说法,毋庸置疑“坏事”是以帝国之名发生的,但英国应该为其留下的许多遗产而自豪,包括英国在废除全球奴隶贸易中起到的作用。而同样行情看涨的英国脱欧支持者雅各布·里兹也不甘示弱,他在伦敦广播公司尼克·法拉利的节目中炫耀了英国的废止奴隶贸易。他还指出,虽然英国的殖民历史中存在“污点”,但也存在一些“好的方面”,是“真正很了不起”的。

Denial about empire

否认帝国的种种

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As my own students have told me, being ableto interrogate difficult histories such as the history of empire, to explorethe myriad connections between people in different parts of the planet, or tostudy the writings of Indian thinkers and actors has given them a much betterunderstanding of themselves and their place in the world. Or, as one studentput it, it has enabled them to “grow as a person”. And that, surely, is whateducation is supposed to do.

正如我的学生们告诉过我的,能够去质询那些不容易消化的历史比如帝国史,去探究这颗星球上不同地区人民之间的种种联系,或是去研究印第安思想家和演员的作品,能够带给他们对自己以及他们这个地方在世界中的位置深刻得多的理解,正如有个学生的说法,这已经让他们得以“全然人的方式成长”。而这无疑是教育本就该做的。