Teaching Race in the Core – November 12, 2018

This passed Monday, the Race and Pedagogy Working Group hosted its first event for the 2018-2019 school year. The objective of this event was to examine the racial presuppositions that inform the Core courses/syllabi we teach and explore approaches to designing syllabi that center race as an object of inquiry. The event began with a conversation to define a few key terms that would work as a basis for the rest of the discussion. These terms were anti-racist, inclusive, race, and intersectionality.


Following this, invited speakers shared their experiences with addressing race in the classroom. Among these speakers were Nicholas Baer, PhD (Humanities), Omi Hsu (Social Sciences), Allyson Nadia Field, PhD (Humanities),  Jordie Davies (Social Sciences), Gourav Khullar (Physical Sciences), and Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky, PhD (Humanities). We then discussed as a group various strategies, questions, obstacles, and concerns other participants had with regard to addressing race in the classroom. Some strategies discussed include facilitating classroom discussion that allows all students to feel comfortable and able to make a valued contribution, recreating the “traditional” canon of what is taught in your specific discipline, acknowledging contributions of non-Western scholars that may have been erased in your discipline, and including scholars from marginalized groups in class readings, lectures and the syllabus.


Lastly, participants were left to discuss what practices mentioned at the event could be useful for diminishing racial oppression in the classroom. Upon the conclusion of the event, many participants continued discussion in small groups and even as they were leaving the room. We are thankful for participants that attended and shared their knowledge and experiences to help create a more inclusive environment in the Core.


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