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New fall 2021 University Course aims to 'explore the origins and meanings of the concept of race'

Despite the increasing role of technology in higher education, more professors are banning the use of laptops in classrooms in an effort to hold students’ attention.
Despite the increasing role of technology in higher education, more professors are banning the use of laptops in classrooms in an effort to hold students’ attention.

As part of Duke’s ongoing anti-racism initiatives, the University will offer a fall 2021 course titled “The Invention and Consequences of Race.”

The class, which will have the catalog number UNIV101, will “provide foundational knowledge about and explore the origins and meanings of the concept of race” and is supported with funds from the Duke Endowment.

The one-credit satisfactory/unsatisfactory class will be offered on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 6 p.m. and incorporate lectures and discussions. It will have multiple sections and accommodate up to 300 students, with an equal number of seats reserved for each class year until July 23. The course will carry Social Sciences (SS), Cross-Cultural Inquiry (CCI) and Ethical Inquiry (EI) curriculum codes and meet requirements for the departments of African & African American studies; art, art history and visual studies; documentary studies; gender, sexuality and feminist studies; political science; public policy and sociology.

UNIV101 is a University Course, which is a class focused on a theme or topic taught by faculty spanning Duke’s undergraduate and graduate schools and is open to all students. The primary goal of University Courses is to create a diverse learning environment to discuss “key social issues.” The first University Course was offered in spring 2012, and previous iterations have focused on higher education, food studies, water and making ourselves at home. Past University Courses were hosted in pre-existing departments, and this class is the first to utilize the new department code.

The course was convened by Kerry Haynie, associate professor of political science and African & African American studies; Aimee Kwon, associate professor of Asian and Middle Eastern studies; Charmaine Royal, professor of African & African American studies, biology and global health and Donald Taylor, professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy. A larger faculty steering committee began forming the syllabus in January, but the course has been under development for years, according to a press release.

The four co-conveners will teach the course alongside 14 guest lecturers. As of June 24, the course outline includes speakers from multiple departments at Duke and Malinda Maynor Lowery, former director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and incoming history professor at Emory University. In addition to guest lectures, there will be a public co-curricular speaker series, including discussions on religion and policing in relation to race.

The course is recruiting graduate teaching assistants with a tentative deadline of June 30.


Nadia Bey | Managing Editor

Nadia Bey is a Trinity junior and managing editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

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