The University of Chicago’s English Department has announced that it will only accept applicants interested in working in and with Black studies.
Only graduate students who have a keen interest in that topic are being considered for their 2020-2021 admissions cycle.
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RT reports: The strict guideline is made clear on the department’s website, where a faculty statement endorsed Black Lives Matter and said: “We are committed to the struggle of black and indigenous people, and all racialized and dispossessed people, against inequality and brutality.”
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The faculty added: “English as a discipline has a long history of providing aesthetic rationalizations for colonization, exploitation, extraction and anti-blackness.” To help undo “persistent, recalcitrant anti-blackness in our discipline,” the department has increased hiring and admission of non-white scholars “in the study of the global contours of anti-blackness and in the equally global project of black freedom.”
Courses offered in the current school year include “Black Shakespeare,”“Uneasy Intimacies: Interracial Modernism,” and a course on two of the late Toni Morrison’s novels.
The university has more than its share of social justice programs – including a School of Social Administration and Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture – so requiring an emphasis on skin color in the study of literature left some observers gobsmacked. One Twitter user asked: “Whatever happened to diversity of thought?” Another said: “The adults are no longer in the room,” while one commenter said the department should be defunded and the university punished by alumni.
Human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali mockingly suggested that if the university is committed to black studies, perhaps it should replace the teaching of “racist, colonial and deplorable” English with African languages, such as Swahili and Fulani.
The leftist bent of college faculties around the US is nothing new, but issues of skin color are getting even more emphasis on campus this year amid the BLM protest movement. For instance, the University of Rhode Island said it will replace the murals that have adorned its Memorial Union building since its opening in 1954 because they depict too many white people and lack “sensitivity” in the age of George Floyd protests.