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University to hire professor who can teach Shakespeare through social justice lens

The wit and wisdom found within the works of William Shakespeare may soon be taught through the lenses of social justice and identity politics at one public university in Northern California.

California State University East Bay seeks to hire an assistant professor of English who has an eye toward “diversity” while teaching renaissance and medieval literature, with a special emphasis on Shakespeare, according to a recent job posting.

“Candidates must demonstrate awareness of innovative pedagogy and issues of diversity and social justice, as well as evidence of teaching effectiveness,” states the listing, posted earlier this month. “Candidates who bring global approaches to their teaching and scholarship are preferred. Candidates who engage with issues of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality in their teaching and scholarship are preferred.”

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Jesse Cantley, a spokesperson for Cal State East Bay, told The College Fix that the job requirements reflect the school’s mission.

“As the fifth most diverse university in the United States, diversity and inclusion are paramount to the work we do at Cal State East Bay,” Cantley said via email.

Cantley also stated the focus on social justice is consistent with their learning goals for graduates, approved by the University Senate, “which state that Cal State East Bay graduates should be able to ‘apply knowledge of diversity and multicultural competencies to promote equity and social justice in our communities.’”

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English department representatives did not respond to requests for comment on how exactly might the new professor blend social justice themes into courses on medieval and renaissance literature.

Cal State East Bay’s English Department already offers numerous social justice themed courses, including “Black Literature,” “Ethnic American Autobiography,” and “Gay and Lesbian Literature,” along with more standard courses on “Milton,” “Modern English Grammar” and “Shakespeare.”

The job listing notes applicants must include a one-page statement reflecting on their “contributions to diversity through research, teaching, and/or service.”

MORE: Campus reading room makeover replaces Shakespearean images with authors of color

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About the Author
Toni Airaksinen -- Barnard College