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New Way of Teaching Columbus: Putting Him On Trial for Murder

Amy Graff October 9, 2017 SF Gate     A longtime educator has created an increasingly popular lesson that turns the classroom into a courtroom and asks students to put Columbus, his crew, the King and Queen of Spain and the indigenous people on trial for murder. For decades, every American kid in a schoolyard has known Christopher Columbus as the Italian explorer who “in 1492, sailed the ocean blue.” But that little ditty is being phased out faster than you can name the explorer’s three ships. The rhyme is part of Columbus’ romantic image, which includes searching for riches Read More …

In the Age of Trump, a Chilling Atmosphere

Bill Moyers and Joan Scott talk about the thorny issue of free speech on campus. Back in the 1930s a scholarly intramural feud to choose the inscription for the new library at my future alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin, ended in a draw. From many nominations the competition came down to two finalists. Both said the same thing in different tongues: “Ye Shall Know The Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free,” from the biblical Gospel of John, and its Latin counterpart: “Cognoscetis Ventatem et veritas liberabit vos.” Fortunately — at least for me — the Read More …

Students Fight University Sanctions After Protesting Israeli Soldiers

Nora Barrows-Friedman September 5, 2017 The Electronic Intifada. Students are fighting back against a series of sanctions imposed on them by the University of California, Irvine (UCI) as punishment for chanting and clapping during a campus event with Israeli soldiers in May. Administrators launched an investigation into Students for Justice in Palestine following the protest, even though members of the group say that they were the ones who endured days of harassment, including sexual slurs and racist intimidation, by the Israeli soldiers who were invited to give a talk about the Israeli army. The students believe the harassment was an Read More …

Writing While Socialist

Vijay Prashad, Mark Nowak September 26, 2017 Boston Review. Over the past year, the scholar and activist Vijay Prashad taught a series of nonfiction writing workshops to students, activists, workers, and journalists across India. The workshops sought to develop an ethics and practice of socialist writing to foreground what Prashad calls “the small voices of history.” Mark Nowak: You have facilitated a new series of workshops around India since we last spoke. How has this project evolved over time? What new ideas, techniques, or insights did you bring to the second round? Vijay Prashad: With each workshop the broad outlines Read More …

How Harvard helps its richest and most arrogant students get ahead

By Sarah Ruden September 19 Sarah Ruden has a PhD in classical philology from Harvard University. She is a former Guggenheim fellow, the author of “The Face of Water: A Translator on Beauty and Meaning in the Bible” and the winner of a Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant for her work translating Augustine’s Confessions. It was the end of a semester at Harvard University, where I was a doctoral student, and I’d been called into a professor’s office. He was the faculty member overseeing the third-year undergraduate Latin course that I had just finished teaching and grading. One of my students was Read More …

CALL FOR PAPERS: Black Politics, Reparations, and Movement Building in the Era of #45

Co-editors: Barbara Ransby, Editor of Souls, President of the National Women’s Studies Association, University of Illinois at Chicago Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Princeton University The election of the 45th president of the United States marks a pivot point for the ongoing Black freedom struggle in the United States, and perhaps in the world. It was an electoral season like no other: revealing deep divides, and sparking intense debates among African Americans about our historic and troubled relationship with electoral politics in general, and the Democratic Party, in particular. The 2016 presidential election took place in the wake of a period of intense Black Lives Matter Read More …

Shame on Harvard for Welcoming Sean Spicer – But Spurning Chelsea Manning

Francine Prose  The Guardian September 22, 2017 I graduated from Harvard in 1968. (Officially, my diploma was from Radcliffe, the now disbanded women’s college, but all of our classes were at Harvard.) That year, Harvard’s graduation speaker was the shah of Iran, and many of us wore black armbands and boycotted the ceremony to protest against the oppressive Iranian government’s human rights violations. In 1993, I returned for our 25th reunion. The graduation speaker was Colin Powell, the defense secretary, who had supported the Clinton administration’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on openly gay members of the military. And my Read More …

Academic Ethics: Is ‘Diversity’ the Best Reason for Affirmative Action?

By Brian Leiter September 20, 2017, The Chronicle of Higher Education.    Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the 1978 Bakke case — in which the court invalidated the racial quotas on admission at the medical school of the University of California at Davis — “diversity” has dominated American higher education’s thinking about affirmative action. Ironically, the opinion that gave diversity that canonical status was supported by just one Justice, the late Lewis Powell, whose vote decided the case. While strict racial quotas were not permissible, universities had, in Justice Powell’s view, a compelling interest in the diversity of Read More …

Students in 2016: Study, Study, Vote

Nancy Thomas and Ishara Casellas Connors September 20, 2017 The Conversation   A new study reveals that more, and more diverse, US college students voted in 2016. What are the implications for future elections? , AP, Whether motivated by support for particular policies or enthusiasm – or ire – toward the candidates, the 2016 election captured the attention of U.S. college and university students nationwide. That’s the finding of a new study of students at more than 1,000 U.S. institutions released by the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University, which we direct. The study shows that voting by college and university Read More …

Pro-Charter School Group Pays State’s Largest Campaign Finance Penalty

Pro-Charter School Group Pays State’s Largest Campaign Finance Penalty    Michael Levenson September 11, 2017 Boston Globe   The newly revealed donor list showed the group received checks from Amos B. Hostetter Jr., the former cable television magnate from Boston, who gave $2 million; Seth Klarman, the billionaire chief executive of Baupost Group, a Boston hedge fund, who donated $3.3 million; and Alice Walton, an heiress to the Walmart fortune, who gave $750,000. Charter school backers rallied on Boston Common by the State House last fall., David L. Ryan/Globe Staff, A wealthy New York organization that poured $15 million into Read More …