The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences’ new Antiracist Thought course will continue to expand across the university, potentially as a permanent catalog listing, professors Samantha Langsdale and Steve Wolverton said.
The class was offered for the first time this semester and is co-listed between the philosophy, history and geography departments. It received registration numbers of over half the capacity, with 32 out of 50 students enrolled.
“For both of us, this has been a phenomenal experience,” Langsdale, a senior lecturer in the philosophy and religion department, said. “When we decided to do this, we knew that it would involve a personal journey as well as facilitating an experience for a class full of individuals who also desire to take these steps toward learning antiracist thought and praxis. Halfway through [the class], it has already involved a lot of positive impact.”
After receiving the green light from the university, Langsdale and Wolverton spent the summer of 2020 developing the course. Now, they are working to install the class as a permanent catalog listing. Multiple departments in CLASS have expressed their interest in offering the course.
“It’s definitely a class that has gotten the attention of our college,” Wolverton, a professor in the department of geography and environment, said.
The professors are currently working with Jean Shaake, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who oversees all things regarding curriculum in the college. They have collectively decided the course will continue to be an upper-level class due to its intense “reading [and] conversation focus” Wolverton said.
Antiracist Thought is scheduled to be offered again in the fall of 2021 and will be taught by Wolverton and another professor who is currently undecided. The class will once again be cross-listed across multiple departments, which Wolverton believes will probably be the philosophy, geography and political science departments.
Langsdale and Wolverton are trying to find the right home department that will be the first to assign the class a permanent course number. Then, the class will be co-listed across other departments as a special topics course. The philosophy and geography departments are both being considered as said home departments.
“The idea here is to grow this course sustainably,” Wolverton said. “To get it more and more permanent in the course catalog.”
The sustainability of a course also depends on faculty who are willing to teach it in the future. Recent philosophy department hire, Miguel Ramirez, has expressed extreme interest in being involved in the course, Langsdale said. The philosophy department is also set to hire a new faculty member in fall 2021 that she hopes could engage in antiracist topics. To Langsdale, the women’s and gender studies program also holds a lot of potential for a “productive crossover.”
Philosophy sophomore Alexandra Sanchez said she “felt very heard through the way the professors ask for input each class, and through the reflection journals.” However, she said she had a criticism of the course.
“Something disappointing about the class is the fact that the course isn’t on the normal course catalog,” Sanchez said. “It’s offered this year as a special topic class. The future of the course would benefit from more minds.”
Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas