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President’s Fund for Racial Justice to Support Eight Courses

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President Valerie Smith recently selected eight courses to support as part of the President’s Fund for Racial Justice, the first component of an effort to improve the lives of Black and Brown people and other marginalized groups through engaged scholarship.

The College invited members of the faculty to propose courses for the January term and spring semester that focus on transformative justice. After a review of course offerings, faculty identified more than 80 courses across 19 programs and departments with race and racism and their relationship to power and privilege as central queries for interrogation and study, Sarah Willie-LeBreton, provost and dean of the faculty, wrote in a message to the community.

From that list, Smith selected the following courses for funding:

2021 January Term 

Black Liberation 2020 (SOCI 028) —  Nina Johnson, assistant professor of sociology

Mathematics and Social Justice (MATH 020) — Michael Dougherty, visiting assistant professor of mathematics

First-Year Seminar: Apocalypse: Hope and Despair in the Last Days (RELG 006C) — Mark Wallace, professor of religion

Music in Times of War and Disease (MUSI 006A) — Barbara Milewski, associate professor of music, and James Blasina, assistant professor of music

2021 Spring Semester

The Politics of Latinx Art and Activism (LITR 062S) — Désirée Díaz, assistant professor of Spanish

Borders and Migration (POLS 031) — Osman Balkan, visiting assistant professor of political science

Literacies Pedagogy: Read, Make, and Mend the World (EDUC 151) — Diane Anderson, associate professor and chair of educational studies

Building New Worlds: The Arts and Architectures of Liberation (ARTH 060) — Paloma Checa-Gismero, assistant professor of art history, and Brian Goldstein, assistant professor of art history

These courses reflect broader curricular and co-curricular initiatives outlined in the President’s Fund for Racial Justice that will take place especially, but not exclusively, in local and regional communities.

Smith established the fund in response to a renewed movement against systemic racism, hate, and discrimination following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police. As a groundswell of protests spread across the country, Smith wrote to the Swarthmore community: “We stand today with those who are suffering from the threat and the consequences of racial violence, economic despair, disease, and death. Inspired by our values and ideals, we must dedicate ourselves to fighting for justice; to caring for those who are sick, hungry, or hurting in mind or spirit; and to repairing our broken world.”

The fund was created in keeping with Swarthmore College’s steadfast commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and its mission of educating students, promoting social justice, and serving the common good. It will support Swarthmore programs focused on transformative racial justice, such as the Chester Children’s Chorus and summer research opportunities through the Swarthmore Black Alumni Network, as well as initiatives with a focus on local and regional communities, all with the goal of improving the lives of Black and Brown people and other minority groups.

Further information on the fund and ways to support it can be found here.

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