“protesters charged that the course was too white, too male and too Eurocentric”
Students have been protesting this course for months. Now the school is caving to them.
Inside Higher Ed reports:
Diversifying a Classic Humanities Course
Reed College announced major changes to its signature humanities course Wednesday, months after student protesters charged that the course was too white, too male and too Eurocentric.
Instead of focusing on the ancient Mediterranean, the team-taught course — which all first-year students take together, at the same time — will now consist of four different time- and place-based “modules.”
Students will still study the humanistic traditions of the ancient Mediterranean and Athens in the first part of the course. But in the second half, students will engage with history and texts related to Mexico City in the 15th through 20th centuries, and Harlem from 1919 to 1952.
The changes to Hum 110, as the course is known, take effect next academic year.
Like many institutions, Reed has faced student demands that it make its curriculum more inclusive of people of color and non-Western traditions. But those demands took a distinctly Reed-like turn when a group of students staged a months-long sit-in of Hum 110 lectures, through the fall.
The protesters, associated with a group called Reedies Against Racism, reached a kind of agreement with the Hum 110 faculty that they could be present as long as they didn’t disrupt class. It worked for a while, but things came to a head at the beginning of last semester, when some protesters insisted on using lecture time to introduce themselves to incoming first-year students.
The dispute resulted in a canceled lecture and soul-searching for Reed, which prides itself on its flat organizational structure and dialogue-based approach to conflict resolution.
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