If Philosophy Won’t Diversify, Let’s Call It What It Really Is

Source: New York Times


Galenus, Avicenna and Hippocrates pictured in a 16th-century medical book. CreditBettmann

The vast majority of philosophy departments in the United States offer courses only on philosophy derived from Europe and the English-speaking world. For example, of the 118 doctoral programs in philosophy in the United States and Canada, only 10 percent have a specialist in Chinese philosophy as part of their regular faculty. Most philosophy departments also offer no courses on Africana, Indian, Islamic, Jewish, Latin American,Native American or other non-European traditions. Indeed, of the top 50 philosophy doctoral programs in the English-speaking world, only 15 percent have any regular faculty members who teach any non-Western philosophy.

Given the importance of non-European traditions in both the history of world philosophy and in the contemporary world, and given the increasing numbers of students in our colleges and universities from non-European backgrounds, this is astonishing. No other humanities discipline demonstrates this systematic neglect of most of the civilizations in its domain. The present situation is hard to justify morally, politically, epistemically or as good educational and research training practice.

We each — alongside many colleagues and students — have worked for decades to persuade American philosophy departments to broaden the canon of works they teach; we have urged our colleagues to look beyond the European canon in their own research and teaching. While a few philosophy departments have made their curriculums more diverse, and while the American Philosophical Association has slowly broadened the representation of the world’s philosophical traditions on its programs, progress has been minimal.

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Stanford study suggests academic benefits to ethnic studies courses

Stanford study suggests academic benefits to ethnic studies courses

New research shows gains in attendance, GPA of at-risk high school students from incorporating culturally relevant pedagogy.

Marc FranklinEthnic studies class, Washington High, SFTeacher David Ko instructs an ethnic studies class at Washington High School in San Francisco. A Stanford study found students benefit from such courses. Here, Ko is explaining an assignment about the role of advertising in reinforcing cultural stereotypes.

A high school ethnic studies course examining the roles of race, nationality and culture on identity and experience boosted attendance and academic performance of students at risk of dropping out, a new study by scholars at Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) found.

The study looked at ethnic studies classes in a pilot program in San Francisco high schools, and compared academic outcomes for students encouraged to enroll in the courses with similar students who did not take them.

The researchers found that students not only made gains in attendance and grades, they also increased the number of course credits they earned to graduate.

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