Over the last week there has been a groundswell of action in opposition to the decision to eliminate the paleography program at King’s College London, most significantly the position of the Chair of Paleography, Professor David Ganz, which is the only such position in the UK and perhaps in the English-speaking world. Paleography, the science of manuscripts and handwriting, lacks the direct economic and political impact of other fields but has enormous influence on work throughout the historical disciplines. My new book relied significantly on Professor Ganz’s co-edition/translation of Bischoff’s Latin Paleography. More broadly, the notion that any scholar’s research should be narrowly dictated by budgetary considerations – that evaluations of scholarly merit ought to be conducted on the grounds of immediate financial impact – is anathema to the principles of academic freedom.
A Facebook group and an online petition have already been organized to oppose this misguided bureaucratic decision. I encourage any of you who may be concerned about the impact of this decision to become involved through these or other means. A parallel effort has been organized opposing the firing of several KCL philosophers.