In 2020, as the Black Lives Matter protests gathered strength in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd, Duke President Vince Price released a statement committing the university to “take transformative action now toward eliminating … systems of racism and inequality.” He listed expected steps: diversity in hiring and admissions, additional aid, salary equity, Juneteenth as a Duke paid holiday. More, he pledged to “incorporate anti-racism into our curricula … across the university.”
One of the first places that led was to UNIV 101: The Invention and Consequences of Race, a new universitywide course addressing the very concept of race, and how it was created and what it has wrought. That 14-week course was the first time Duke had addressed a topic like this in a universitywide course.
When it was time to create the UNIV 101: The Invention and Consequences of Race, professor Kerry Haynie had an issue. The course came about as part of Duke’s antiracism effort, and Haynie’s central concern was simple: “I don’t know what people mean by antiracist,” he said. “I mean, I think I have an idea of what they think they mean.
“But I don’t know how to do that. That is not what I do as an academic.”
It was a heavy lift. How do you create a course with a goal like that? How do you make sure you’re teaching, not proselytizing? It’s a complicated issue, so the Devils’ Share attended that course to document. How’d it go? Did the students like it? Did they learn things? How’d the professors feel it went? What was it like to create such a course? What worked and what didn’t? And, of course, what did everybody learn about race?
So take a listen to “The Race Course,” as The Devils’ Share documents a university taking steps towards antiracism — whatever that turns out to mean.
Here’s episode 1.