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Brown University Offers New Course on Racism in US Higher Education


Brown University offers students a new course this upcoming fall semester, exploring race and racism in US higher education.

The private Ivy League research university recognizes that many US universities are “rooted in ties to the TransAtlantic slave trade and/or land dispossession from Indigenous People,” and believes that is unsurprising that “the remnants of this racist past show up in the present day within the walls of colleges and universities.”

Building on the groundbreaking book Ebony and Ivy of African American historian Craig Steven Wilder, Brown’s course seeks to examine the intricate relationship between race, slavery, and the universities in the US.

Wilder’s book explores the history of oppression behind US universities. He mentions that the racist past is embedded within higher education, and learning the consequences of this development is important. His work also shows how leading universities including Harvard, Yale, and Princeton became breeding grounds for racism.

Ebony and Ivy is the basis for the class through a combination of historical readings, group work, assignments, and collective discussions. 

As part of the course, students will learn theory which is a guiding lens to analyze socio-political processes. Other objectives of the course are effectively switching verbal forms from academic to non-academic while putting theory into practice.

The course also wants students to develop confidence as scholars and increase collective consciousness on socially relevant topics related to the course.

The new course, EDUC 1215, will be taught by Nicole Truesdell, a trained socio-cultural anthropologist. 

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