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Reckoning: race, memory and reimagining the public university

New College initiatives tackle difficult topics

Under the leadership of Interim Dean Terry Rhodes, the College of Arts & Sciences launched two new initiatives this fall designed to foster community and understanding.

“Reckoning: Race, Memory and Reimagining the Public University” supports student learning and discussions about heritage, race, post-conflict legacies, politics of remembrance and contemporary projects of reconciliation. Students enrolled in one of the 18 participating courses are examining Carolina’s complicated history in the context of U.S. and global histories. Courses include “Class, Race and Inequality in America,” “Race and Memory at UNC,” “Arabic Sources on American Slavery” and “Modern South Africa.”

Although the courses have their own unique subject matter, all 800-plus students in the initiative will read three selected texts and attend thematically linked lectures, films and other events. At semester’s end, students will present their research at a Reckoning forum. They will practice difficult conversations, gain a vocabulary for engaging in the moment and connect diverse fields of study to current issues.

The second initiative is “Countering Hate: Overcoming Fear of Differences.” Like others across the country, the UNC community has experienced painful incidents of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. The College will present programming, and in spring 2020, courses aimed at better understanding these troubling phenomena.

“Countering Hate” kicks off with a signature event — a Nov. 7 lecture by Kenneth Stern, director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate at Bard College. The talk will be at 5:30 p.m. in the FedEx Global Education Center’s Nelson Mandela Auditorium.

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