Unfair comment

March 14, 2003

Rick Rylance and Judy Simons (Letters, THES , February 21, 28) wrongly suggest that I paid belated attention to the English benchmarking exercise. At Sussex, we discussed the draft document, I wrote a paper, and colleagues largely accepted it. Our views were passed to the benchmarking committee. The only outcome, however, was two tiny changes in wording.

The Quality Assurance Agency indicated that English benchmarking might be reviewed after July 2003. Surely it is time to think about it.

Gary Day (Letters, THES , February 21) accuses me of dictating book choice.

But my case is about diverse reading positions - for instance, mine. As a middle-class white man I have privileges, but as a gay man aspects of my practice and culture are stigmatised and criminalised. Day's suggestion that my comments are inappropriate because I have a chair in English illustrates the kind of coercion I feared.

Alan Sinfield
University of Sussex

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