The recent Presidential Election results have brought about an interesting array of reactions. Some are taking the forgive and forget approach, arguing that the people have spoken and now we must move forward. Others are not taking the news so lightly, arguing that we have just elected a loose cannon into power; these same people have asserted the importance of keeping him and the cabinet from hell in check.
One of these reactionaries (of the latter variety) is University of Chicago, Anthropology professor, William Mazzarella, who proposed a new course for the Spring quarter of 2017, called “Trump 101.”
An email was sent to students about the proposed new course, which would take a multi-disciplinary, theory-based approach to “Trumpism as a symptom of our political present. Where are we? How did we get here? Where do we go from here?” Students will explore how the 2016 election fits with “existing theories of fascism or the mass psychology of authoritarianism.” The course will be taught using “a mix of classic texts and contemporary commentaries.”
This course, along with the Provost’s university-wide email post-election make it seemingly more apparent that University of Chicago and basically all of academia is searching for ways in which they can grieve, reflect and work to promote positive progress.
Here is the university-wide, post-election email from the Univ. of Chicago President and Provost:
To: University Community
From: Robert J. Zimmer, President, and Daniel Diermeier, Provost
Subject: Message from President and Provost
Date: November 13, 2016
Early in the fall quarter, we sent a message welcoming each of you to the new academic year and affirming our strong commitment to two foundational values of the University – fostering an environment of free expression and open discourse; and ensuring that diversity and inclusion are essential features of the fabric of our campus community and our interactions beyond campus.
Recent national events have generated waves of disturbing, exclusionary and sometimes threatening behavior around the country, particularly concerning gender and minority status. As a result, many individuals are asking whether the nation and its institutions are entering a period in which supporting the values of diversity and inclusion, as well as free expression and open discourse, will be increasingly challenging. As the president and provost of the University of Chicago, we are writing to reaffirm in the strongest possible terms our unwavering commitment to these values, and to the importance of the University as a community acting on these values every day.
Fulfilling our highest aspirations with respect to these values and their mutual reinforcement will always demand ongoing attention and work on the part of all of us. The current national environment underscores the importance of this work. It means that we need to manifest these values more rather than less, demand more of ourselves as a community, and together be forthright and bold in demonstrating what our community aspires to be. We ask all of you for your help and commitment to the values of diversity and inclusion, free expression, and open discourse and what they mean for each of us working, learning, and living in this University community every day.