College offers courses on 'white privilege,' race/diversity in sports

Hamilton College is offering courses this year exploring concepts such as “white privilege” and the role of masculinity, power structures, and global capitalism in competitive athletics.

According to the college’s current course catalog, at least one of the courses fulfills a requirement for an Africana Studies concentration, though none are required for students pursuing other disciplines due to Hamilton’s “open curriculum” approach.

“Diversity Reconsidered,” a 200-level course taught by Dr. Donald Carter, is described as “an examination of the emergence of Africana Studies as a transdisciplinary field of social and cultural critique and politics,” with discussion topics including “the history of Africana thought, race and global racial formation, resistance and politics, intersectionality, gender and sexuality, representation, white privilege, belonging, Blackness, and diaspora.”

The writing-intensive course has a maximum enrollment of 20 students, all of whom must have either completed the 100-level “Introduction to Africana Studies” course or received permission from the instructor to skip that prerequisite.

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“The Africana Studies Department at Hamilton began to be molded in the mid-1980s in response to students who pressed for a space within the academy where issues of race and the lives of people of Africa and the African diaspora could be explored,” the department’s website states. “From the beginning, the department has been transdisciplinary and cross-cultural. It has an innovative and visionary curriculum.”

Notably, the department encourages students to take “at least one course focused on women or gender” out of the nine courses that are required for an Africana Studies concentration.

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Dr. Nigel Westmaas offers another course, “Global Race and Sport,” that students can take in order to meet that goal.

The 200-level course “is designed to examine race and diversity issues in the world of sports from the early 20th century to the present” through “critical inquiry on the impact of race and racism in major world sports and the Olympic movement.”

The description further states that students will “[interrogate] issues of masculinity, gender, the structures of power, as well as new forms of global capitalism in sports.”

Campus Reform reached out to the Africana Studies Department, as well as professors Carter and Westmaas, for comment, but none had responded in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AutumnDawnPrice