Number 11

Issues in English Number 9

English After Brexit, edited by Adrian Barlow

During the campaigning before the 23rd June, the potential impact of Brexit (old meaning) on education had received scant attention in the media. As soon as the word had been reconfigured, however, the sense of shock and disquiet among the EA’s Trustees quickly resolved itself into the question, ‘How will this affect English?’ And since the EA represents the professional activity of English at all levels and in all its aspects, it was decided to canvass the opinions of its Fellows. As Chair of the Fellowship Committee, Adrian Barlow asked those for whom ‘English’ is essential to their personal and professional lives, how they reacted to the present discontents that the Brexit vote had exposed, and how they saw it affecting themselves, their colleagues and their students. All the responses received are published in this volume, and it has been good to hear from Fellows in other EU countries as well as at home.

The responses printed in Part 1 are presented in alphabetical order by author, but it is appropriate that the first response should stress the responsibility of teachers

I think we can now say, in the aftermath of the EU referendum, that we have to teach the change that we wish to see in the world [….] We owe it to our students, and to future generations, to do this’

while the last concludes that

This is a moment […] actively to contest the merest hints of insularity, and to pursue new commitments to European communal identity. The English Association itself might work to affirm and to develop its affiliations with partner organisations in all European countries.

Part 2 contains a single personal essay reflecting on the events and anxieties of the three weeks during which the responses in Part 1 had been gathered. Peter Robinson’s ‘Balkan Diary’ is the testimony of a working academic, poet and editor, travelling about his business in eastern Europe and at home at a time when sudden and turbulent events have posed fundamental questions for English after Brexit.

ISBN 978-0-900232-329   46 pages  £4.00

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