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College Students Outraged Over Class About Historical White Men

Rodrigo Kazuo and Meg Perret, two students at the University of California, Berkeley, recently criticized a class that they say includes only the works of historical white men.

The white men reportedly mentioned in the syllabus included philosophers: Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault.

Kazuo and Perret wrote in the independent, student-run newspaper, The Daily Californian:

We have major concerns about social theory courses in which white men are the only authors assigned. These courses pretend that a minuscule fraction of humanity — economically privileged white males from five imperial countries (England, France, Germany, Italy and the United States) — are the only people to produce valid knowledge about the world. This is absurd. The white male syllabus excludes all knowledge produced outside this standardized canon, silencing the perspectives of the other 99 percent of humanity.

Kazuo and Perret also claimed that the "class was out of touch with the majority of students’ lives." They admonished the professor for not including events in Ferguson and for sayng that men and women are biologically distinct (i.e., women can give birth, while men cannot).

Kazuo and Perret wrote that when a student asked the professor about transgender people, the teacher allegedly said, “There will always be exceptions ... We may all be transgender in the future."

Kazuo and Perret declared in their op-ed, "We must dismantle the tyranny of the white male syllabus."

However, at Arizona State University, one professor is teaching a class this year entitled, "Studies in American Literature/Culture: U.S. Race Theory & the Problem of Whiteness." According to, the course will cover “major critical schools of recent decades – post-colonialist, psychoanalytic, deconstructionist, feminist, new historicist.”

Sources: The Daily Californian, Arizona State University, / Image Credit: University of California, Berkeley Logo


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