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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 5, No. 5. July 2, 1942

History Syllabus

History Syllabus

Dear Sir,

The article in the last issue of "Salient" under the above heading by a rather embryonic history stu dent has caused some comment in the College, and we feel on those grounds alone further discussion on the sub ject is merited. Had we been vouch safed as much space as he, there are [unclear: several] of his points we would like to have substantiated, mainly the luck of a suitable curriculum which is evident to all history students [unclear: worth] calling by that name. Even here we considered him rather one-eyed. He indicates the gap of Inaia before 1500. Surely Europe before 1500 is an even more serious gap? He also says, "I do not suggest that a University student should cover the whole history of the world." Why not? Obviously one has to have de tailed study of some periods and not if others, but why on earth, in an attempt to provide a history curri culum of some use should not the whole business be dealt with gener ally, so that the detailed study of this and that may be fitted properly into the perspective of the whole? But the proposal for substituting the present heterogeneous nine-unit sys tem for a genuine history degree in which not only are these gaps filled, but such things as economics, which are essential to history, and political science—not as at present taught divorced from reality and at times from accuracy—compulsorily incor porated, must find its way to this paper at a future date. Our objec tions to the article must take first place now.

Ask Professor Wood

The statement that no history lecture[unclear: r] dared to come within twenty years of his lecture is a complete inaccuracy. Ask Professor Wood what happened when he dared to set an [unclear: essay] for Stage [unclear: 1] on a [unclear: post-World] War [unclear: 1] topic. There [unclear: arose] a [unclear: bowl] of [unclear: derision.] disgust and dismay, and the cry, "This is not history."

He complains that he never heard any philosophy of history diseased in a [unclear: lecture.] Probably not. You can't make a pattern without any material. To cram philosophies of [unclear: history] down the throats of the un trained and unformed would be [unclear: unprofitable]. Had he progressed to an Honours [unclear: standard] he would have heard them well bandied about.

Finally, for a student who does not [unclear: annear] to be particularly well qualified to do so, to sling [unclear: mud] at one of the most [unclear: progressive] depart ments in the College seems pretty unjustifiable. We suggest that had this student not had the misfortune of an [unclear: early] training in a more southern college and had he [unclear: put] to better use the "ability" of which he makes so much, his statements would not have been so imprecise.

Yours, etc..

Checked Up

Now that the Japs are into the expanding game we spend more time at sea . . . last Friday I spent the afternoon with Jim Croxton and Stan. Lowe at——. I didn't have a chance to see Crox's photos of [unclear: some] of the local "bumps," which he says are amazingly steep. Overhanging cliffs are very common ... the life is not conducive to [unclear: swot,] but I manage a little chemistry when we get down to cooler latitudes. . . .—Leading Wireless Mechanic A. P. Oliver.