Story at a glance
- The University of Chicago will soon have a Department of Race, Diaspora and Indigeneity.
- The decision was made by the school’s highest academic body, the Council of the University Senate, on Tuesday night.
- The interdisciplinary department will be a “home for ambitious scholarship on concepts that have helped shape the modern world and continue to reverberate in contemporary thought, culture and policy.”
The University of Chicago will soon get a new department focused on studying race, diaspora and indigeneity.
The school’s Council of the University Senate — which serves as the college’s “supreme academic body” except for all matters reserved for the Board of Trustees, president or provost — approved the creation of the department during a Tuesday meeting.
“This outcome is the culmination of years of dedicated collaboration and discussion among faculty and students across the University,” Adom Getachew and Leora Auslander, two of the faculty leaders of the proposal, said in a statement. “Our collective work has produced an original approach that will benefit our colleagues, students and this field of study as a whole.”
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The forthcoming department is the fourth created at the University of Chicago over the past decade, according to a release from the university.
Its creation comes during a fearful time for many in education, when numerous educational gag orders targeting speech on race and LGBTQIA identities have been introduced into state legislatures. Under one Oklahoma bill, instructors at public colleges are forbidden to teach that the United States is more at fault than any other country “for the institution of slavery; that one race is the unique oppressor in the institution of slavery.”
A bill in Mississippi would punish professors for assigning course materials that support the idea that the state is “fundamentally, institutionally, or systemically racist.”
So far this year, there are 38 bills under consideration in 20 states that aim to control what is taught in institutions of higher learning, according to a recent legislative review by PEN America researcher Jeffrey Sachs.
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