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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

AP African American Studies purges critical race, queer theorists

Critical race theory, queer theory and black feminist literature are out of the core curriculum in the revised version of College Board's new Advanced Placement African American Studies course, report Anemona Hartocollis and Eliza Fawcett in the New York Times. Those topics -- and "black conservatism" -- now appear as possible topics for student research projects.


Kimberlé Crenshaw, a legal theorist who coined "intersectionality," is was moved from AP's core curriculum. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed to ban the curriculum, saying it violated the state's Stop WOKE Act. "When you use Black history to try to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes,"he said.


Florida requires "the teaching of African American history," but rejects "woke indoctrination masquerading as education," said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz. "We will come back to the table" if the course is revised, he tweeted on Jan. 20.


"More than two dozen states have adopted some sort of measure against critical race theory," according to a UCLA tracking project, notes the Times.


AP students may find conservative economist Thomas Sowell in the list of possible research projects.

But David Coleman, the head of the College Board, denied that politics influenced the changes. He said schools that piloted the class reported that students liked reading primary sources, but found discussion of theory "quite dense." The course was streamlined to give students time for projects, he said.


However, most of the changes dealt with topics such as "Black Lives Matter, affirmative action, queer life and the debate over reparations," write Hartocollis and Fawcett. These subjects won't be on theAP exam, which determines whether a student qualifies for college credit and heavily influences what teachers teach.

The expunged writers and scholars include Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, a law professor at Columbia, which touts her work as “foundational in critical race theory”; Roderick Ferguson, a Yale professor who has written about queer social movements; and Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author who has made the case for reparations for slavery. Gone, too, is bell hooks, the writer who shaped discussions about race, feminism and class.

Half of College Board's revenue comes from AP courses, the Times notes.

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