Diversify our Syllabi

Kristina Rodriguez ’19, Opinion Editor

In the course of my career as a women’s, gender, and sexuality studies (WGSS) and English double major, I feel like the diversity of authors that I have read from my course syllabi has been very lacking.

Specifically talking about my WGSS major for a moment, I feel that in most classes we only hear from the perspectives of Western, white-feminists. Then sometimes, we get a sprinkling of diversity when professors add a couple of Latina and Black authors. This is frustrating for me as a woman of color who has not seen or read many diverse writings or seen myself in the books and texts assigned to me in these academic instituions that value white voices as canonical. It is threatening to people of color’s identities because their narratives and histories are being erased by simply being unacknowledged or by being re-written by white Euro-centric scholars who are claiming authority over people of color’s stories and contributions to feminist theory.

Honestly, I’m tired and bored with all these white-feminist texts. And when I say this, I am not saying that these texts aren’t valid and important for understanding feminist theory, but women of color’s voices are also just as valid and important. I am so passionate about my majors, and because of this, it hurts that I don’t see enough of myself and my culture represented in my syllabi. It is also concerning and aggravating that the voices we hear are solely from the Western perspective – we do not get access to women writing from Africa, India, China, etc.

There is work that needs to be done. Institutions need to do better about being inclusive of diverse voices- especially at an institution that prides itself on its supposed diversity and inclusivity.

This should start at the institutional level- let’s incorporate different experiences and voices outside of “canonical” scholarship so we could make space for different forms of scholarship through transnational texts in our syllabi.