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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

‘Diversity’ is required, but it must be ‘critical’

Northern Arizona University will require all students to take four Diversity Perspectives courses in Global Diversity, U.S. Ethnic Diversity, Indigenous Peoples, and Intersectional Identities, reports John D. Sailer in City Journal.

. . .  Intersectional Movements of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality promises to analyze “how intersectionality, and the matrix of inequality, have shaped the production of knowledge” and to provide “a critical lens through which intersectional epistemologies can be foregrounded.” Another, Introduction to Queer Studies, covers “queer theory and activism,” the “social and historical construction of gender and sexuality,” and the “role of allies and social change.” Trans Existence and Resilience, meantime, promises to “examine trans epistemologies as well as critiques of Eurocentric models of thinking about genders that explain peoples’ existence within Western frameworks and ontologies.”

According to a vision statement, NAU aspires to be a place where individuals’ “unique experiences of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual and gender identities, disability, and other perspectives are valued and woven in the fabric.”

Diversity courses in the fall 2022 schedule include Introduction to Indigenous Astronomy and Multicultural Perspectives of Natural Resource Management, writes Sailer.

But foreign language courses don’t count: According to the university’s Liberal Studies Committee, classes must “incorporate critical theory” to count as Diverse Perspectives.

Presumably, students learning Navajo or reading South American literature will have to find time in their schedules for approved courses.

The university’s diversity plan includes hiring, promotion and tenure standards that will deter “any dissent against the prevailing orthodoxy on campus,” writes Sailer.

In time, all professors will adhere in teaching and research to the same diverse perspective.

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