Statement of the Program of Liberal Studies on Confronting Racism

Author: Program of Liberal Studies Regular Faculty

Statement of the Program of Liberal Studies on Confronting Racism

The Program of Liberal Studies strongly affirms that Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with activists protesting police brutality against Black lives, including in our own South Bend and Notre Dame communities.

We also acknowledge that universities and the liberal arts tradition have too often been complicit in racism and have betrayed their own ideals, serving as means of systemic exclusion, silencing, and oppression. In the genuine spirit of the liberal arts, we dedicate ourselves with renewed energy to critical self-examination and broad conversation in order to promote racial equity and social justice. We are committed to a program of liberal education that is truly liberating.

To that end, we are working to improve the diversity of the Program in collaboration with faculty, students, colleagues, and members of the community. We want our department to be a leader at Notre Dame in fostering a just and inclusive future for higher education. As part of this process, the faculty are committed to:

  • Continuing our holistic re-evaluation of the curriculum, with diversity of voices as a central priority
  • Establishing an Inclusion Advisory Council comprised primarily of alumni falling outside the dominant demographics of Notre Dame students to help the department ensure that the Program of Liberal Studies is a welcoming, supportive, inclusive community that respects and values all individuals
  • Serving as the primary sponsor and host for the spring 2022 conference at Notre Dame of the Association for Core Texts and Courses, at which the theme will be “Power and Canons.” Power has shaped canons: who has time and resources to write? what texts are preserved, widely read, and valued, and why? At the same time, power has been a central issue in canonical texts, which gain some of their own lasting power through their efforts to critique, challenge, and subvert prevailing systems of power and the assumptions that underlie them.
  • Working with colleagues and students to develop initiatives to ensure that considerations of racial and social injustice, past and present, are a more visible and substantive part of the Program’s curriculum
  • Striving to reflect the ideals of liberal education as an education appropriate for all humanity and to act as allies to Black faculty, staff, students, and members of our community