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Harvard center hosts virtual seminar on how to inject race issues into course syllabi

The Harvard Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies hosted a webinar last Friday on “integrating critical pedagogies of race” into professors’ course syllabi.

Titled “Teaching Race and Racism: Your Syllabus 2.0” and sponsored by the Association for Slavic, Eurasian, and Eastern European Studies, it was part of the “Race in Focus” virtual series the goal of which is to show faculty how to utilize new course materials, “shar[e] resources,” and “connect with scholars of color.”

According to The Crimson, Associate Director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Zsuzsánna Magdó said her field needs to “engage with race as an academic lens” and to “confront institutional structures perpetuating systemic racism.”

She added more focus needs to be given to the research of scholars of color.

Howard University’s Amarilis Lugo de Fabritz and Sunnie Rucker-Chang of the University of Cincinnati discussed how race has “informed historical processes and broader conceptions of Eastern European nationhood.” The latter added that racial “frames of difference” can offer a “richness and perspective” to their respective fields.

From the story:

“What I want our students to do is engage with these traditional texts of Balkan Studies, of Southeast Europe, through this new lens of race — talking about Blackness, talking about whiteness, and talking about why we can frame conversations about these texts through race,” Rucker-Chang said. …

She also underlined the importance of studying race not merely in today’s socio-political climate but also as a broader analytical medium.

“The topic of race is always simultaneously historical and contemporary,” [Cornell’s Anindita] Banerjee said.

Rucker-Chang, in an interview, also emphasized the importance of making use of current interest to promote impactful and continued action.

“It’s great that this is happening, but what do we do after this?” she said.

The “Race in Focus” series will continue to cover critical pedagogies, the experiences and successes of scholars of color, research on racial minorities, and the intersection between these fields and Black Lives Matter. Magdó ultimately hopes that “Race in Focus” will be a pilot for frequent future discussions on this topic.

If subjects like math aren’t safe from critical (race) theorists, certainly courses about Russia, East Europe, and Eurasia are fair game.

Read the article.

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