Luther College Chips

Seek education to fight oppression and ignorance

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We, as the history department at Luther College, join many others in the community in opposing all forms of hate and intolerance. As faculty in a liberal arts college, we seek to draw student attention to the intellectual roots and ramifications of these unpleasant features of the human experience.

We therefore encourage students who want to learn about the subjugation of people on racial, gender, and other grounds to consider the ways these issues are already part of the Luther curriculum in anthropology, history, literature, Paideia, political science, religion, sociology, and many other fields.

Our study of history convinces us that the use of social power to isolate and target groups of people is inextricably tied to other forms of oppression and injustice. We believe that historical analysis of how power has operated in the past enables us first to understand the endemic nature of dominance in human society and provides insight into how such oppression has been successfully resisted and sometimes ended.

Our department offers specific courses on African history, Asian history, women and gender history, and African-American history, including courses on the U.S. Civil Rights movement.

But we would like to emphasize the fact that there is also much to be learned about our current situation from courses on the Roman Empire, the rise of the social welfare state in Europe, or the history of the medieval church. Indeed, course offerings from many departments on campus provide insights that are directly applicable in similar ways.

As Okogyeamon (Dr. Herbert Perkins) urged on April 26, each person needs to educate him or herself regarding these matters. Luther students are in the perfect position to do that in their course of study here at Luther College. 

We urge students to include discussion of equity and social justice choices in their conversations with their advisors. These courses are here; seize the opportunity to explore them now.

Signed,

Associate Professor of History Brian Caton

Associate Professor of History Robert Christman

Associate Professor of History Victoria Christman

Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies Richard Mtisi

Assistant Professor of History Anna Peterson

Associate Professor of History Edward Tebbenhoff

Professor of History Jacqueline Wilkie

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1 Comment

One Response to “Seek education to fight oppression and ignorance”

  1. Sheila Radford-Hill on May 14th, 2018 9:55 am

    I was happy to see this statement. At Dominican, we have to engage in condemning hate and bigotry, from time to time. What has been helpful for faculty and staff to understand is how students experience marginalization and identity threats both inside and outside of our classrooms. Our faculty development workshops are deeply addressing who our students are and what evidence-based strategies we can use to build connections among them. Finally, I know that minoritized students can feel invisible when threats occur. I know your department is positioned to actively talk and teach about race, not merely as a social construct but as an opportunity to rethink our understanding of racial hierarchies and the relationships we forgo because of how ingrained this idea is in the US. The idea of implicit bias has been useful in this regard. Thanks again for this joint statement.

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