BC students demand change to ‘Eurocentric’ core curriculum
Students at Boston College (BC) are petitioning administrators to change the school’s core history requirement because it is too “Eurocentric.”
“After careful analysis of the core curriculum at Boston College, we, the students, have come to acknowledge the lack of core courses that expand beyond a Eurocentric focus, which is particularly evident with the history core,” their petition states.
A group of four BC students wrote the petition as part of an assignment for a theology class, which tasked students with the project of identifying an injustice on campus. In their petition, students argue that such a limited historical perspective stands contrary to the goal of a liberal arts education, which, they claim, is to establish a well-rounded individual.
“With the addition of core history classes that emphasize the importance of global histories, rather than merely ‘understanding European history and the impact of European institutions on the modern world’ Boston College will be able to truly accomplish its philosophy,” the petition continues.
Although BC’s core curriculum does place an emphasis on European history, it simultaneously encourages students to establish “an awareness of historical developments in other parts of the world” while “encouraging the sense of tolerance that results from an understanding and awareness of different cultures and parts of the world.”
Additionally, students are required to complete two courses in history, which can be selected from a wide range of topics, such as “Asia in the World,” “Atlantic Worlds,” “Globalization,” and “Understanding Race, Gender, and Violence.”
Only one course in the core history requirements for BC’s 2015-16 academic catalog explicitly mentions Europe, whereas there are four offerings of the “Globalization I” course.
Writers of the petition, however, insist that their core curriculum’s emphasis on European history is an “injustice” to students.
“We found that the BC history core is Eurocentric, and we believe that it is an injustice to not give students the choice to learn about other histories they may be interested in,” student Riley Kinney told her school’s newspaper. “Eurocentrism creates a false hierarchy to European history over all other types of history, and we want our diverse student body to know that BC values their cultures equally as well.”
The petition has garnered the support of another on campus group known as “ Eradicate Boston College Racism,” which works to “reform pedagogy and curriculum to reduce Eurocentric focus and address racism and diversity in the classroom.”
Meanwhile, students are also required to satisfy a cultural diversity requirement in the core curriculum, according to The BC Heights. The diversity requirement claims to be a way of “introducing students to different cultures and concepts of cultural identity and cultural differences” and “developing the students’ appreciation of other ways of life.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski