- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 26 October 2016
- Written by KERRY BREEN | COPY EDITOR
The History and Anthropology department has created a new undergraduate Race and Ethnicities minor, focusing on race and ethnic studies. The newly established fifteen credit minor was spearheaded by lecturer Hettie Williams and lecturer Brooke Nappi, of the History and Anthropology department.
The minor will focus on “the critical study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity with an emphasis on the perspectives of people of color,” according to a press release sent out in the department newsletter last spring. It launched this fall and, according to those involved, has been well received by students.
“The student response [to the minor] has been very positive,” said Nappi, “We have at least 20 interested students at this point.”
“I’m an activist, so it interests me,” said Jade Cunningham, a sophomore anthropology major. “I want to do something involving race when I get out of college.”
“I believe that, in 2016, race relations seem like they are at their worst in the United States,” said Nick Vandaley, an anthropology grad student. While he is not able to take the minor, he has been involved in its creation. “There needs to be a concentrated effort in academia and at Monmouth to express interest in the things that happen, and formulate ways to change the environment.”
Students enrolled in the minor will analyze race and racism as social, cultural, and political forces, and they will also analyze how they intersect with other systems of classification, such as gender, class, sexuality, etc. Students will also have opportunities inside and outside the classroom that they would not get in any other minor.
“The minor provides students with the opportunity to develop as global citizens through the comparative and multidisciplinary study of the history, culture, geography, politics, and economics of Africans, African Americans, Asians, Native Americans, Latin Americans, and Muslim populations in the Middle East,” said Dr. Richard Veit, Chair of the Department of History and Anthropology.
The program will be both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary, and will allow students to take courses in history, anthropology, geography, sociology, and media studies.
The minor will include six required courses, the first of which will be the newly created class HS 349: Slavery in the Atlantic World; for the remaining three required credits, students have the option of choosing between SO 252: Race and Ethnicity or AN 380: American Diversity. Courses associated with this minor are designated with the course code ‘RE.’ A curriculum chart for the minor and complete list of available courses can be found on the University website.
Other course offerings are drawn from existing classes at the 200 level in areas such as anthropology, art, communication, geography, and gender studies. Students can either take interdisciplinary courses, cross-listed classes, or courses in a specific discipline. There are nearly thirty classes marked with the ‘RE’ course code, meaning a student can create a varied and focused minor and learn a vast amount of information. Classes and class information can be found online.
According to the press release, the minor is “particularly beneficial to students majoring in the field of education due to the fact that the United States is the most ethnically diverse society in the world and the American classroom has become increasingly multicultural. In fact, U.S. society will be roughly 46 percent white by or before the year 2040, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”
Interested students also had the opportunity to attend an informational session about the minor in Howard Hall at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24, hosted by the department.
“The minor was created in order to give our students the opportunity to explore an important area of study with real life implications,” said Veit. “We live in an increasingly multicultural society. A strong background in race and ethnicity will give our students the intellectual skills to be informed global citizens. Students will gain cultural competency skills critical for success in the global economy of the 21st century… This is a fantastic minor for students majoring in education, business, science, and many other fields.”
According to the press release, the minor will be able to enrich the lives of both faculty and students at Monmouth, and will provide students with an opportunity to gain a more in-depth understanding of the history of race in both United States society and the world as a whole. Students will “secure cultural competency through the study of various ethnic groups” and expand their academic career well beyond the six cultural diversity credits that are part of the undergraduate general education requirements.
This is the first semester that the minor has been offered and it will continue to be a part of the University curriculum.
Editors Note - The Outlook submitted questions to Professors Nappi and Williams well within the papers deadline to comment on their program. Professor Nappi answered one of the questions, and Professor Williams did not comment. The Outlook regrets that the creators of the program could not have been featured more prominently.
Photo taken by Brendan Greve