President David Granger, this evening, placed on record his disappointment at the fact that history is no longer offered as a stand-alone discipline at the University of Guyana (UG). Speaking at the launch of Professor Emeritus Winston McGowan’s book entitled ‘A Survey of Guyanese History’, the Head of State said that “what use to be one of the most powerful and the most dynamic departments in the entire university, has been literally downgraded…We need people like Winston, we need books like ‘A Survey of Guyanese History’ and we need to bring pressure to ensure that history is once again taught as a separate subject to the children of this country.”
The book is a 500-page collection of essays on a wide range of topics including history, education, nationalism, labour, religion, biographies and cricket. Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Dr. James Rose said that the publication is the “frontline research of a committed Guyanese scholar, a respected university academician and a respected Guyanese.”
The book consists of 11 sections and much of what is written in each, are original works that have never been published before. Dr. Rose informed that many of the sections dealt with areas that have not previously attracted scholarly attention. “It’s a unique, original piece of work…In view of the deficiencies in the existing historiography, these essays are invaluable in and by themselves,” he said.
Meanwhile Professor McGowan explained that he wanted to publish some of his writings in the form of this book to mark the end of his long academic career. He also expressed his appreciation to President Granger, himself a historian, for his support in getting the book published.
“In a country that does not teach its own history, you could have calamitous consequences…I dedicate this book with the hope that UG will start to train historians again, because there are very few left. I also dedicate it with the hope that the curriculum will change substantially to allow for history to be taught in our secondary schools in a way that it is not being taught now,” the author said.
The book was printed by F & H Printing Establishment and published by Guyenterprise Advertising Agency and is available for sale at the cost of G$4,000.