An examination of African American and Jewish American inter-ethnic, historical and contemporary connections and disconnections. Implications for educational, social, and social settings are considered.
The rationale for developing the course is threefold: 1) Addresses cross-cultural understandings which is congruent with the Carolinian Creed and for a democratic society 2) Both AA and JA groups are important and yet understudied and 3) Expanding Carolina Core offerings focused on these two understudied communities.
The course directly targets objectives of the Carolinian Creed including, “I will discourage bigotry, while striving to learn from differences in people, ideas and opinions” and “I will demonstrate concern for others, their feelings, and their need for conditions which support their work and development.” The course will use the African American and Jewish interrelated experiences as a microcosm of ways in which all groups in our country might be treated and educated. The course requires a basic understanding of the cultural constructs of race, systemic racism, colonization, assimilation, and activism. By using the interrelated experiences of the African American and Jewish communities, students will gain understanding of how the consciousness of minoritized people can be manipulated in American society. Accordingly, the course will use multiple theories to analyze and deconstruct responses to bigotry and the need to demonstrate concern for others, their feelings, and their needs. In addition, the course will offer new paradigms for understanding the impact of power and privilege in schools and society.
One can consider both African American and Jewish American topics to be understudied yet crucial to a liberal arts or education degree. Given Africa’s and black America’s massive, pervasive, and enduring impact on the contemporary world, and given the prominent role of race and ethnicity in political, policy, and other public debates, an understanding of African and black American culture and history is important for those entering law, politics, education, journalism, sociology, business, literature, the languages, and many other fields. Similar, Judaism has been central to Western culture from antiquity to the present. Its contributions to Western civilization are deeply interwoven into both Jewish and non-Jewish Western cultural history, contributing significantly to art, language, law, literature, medicine, philosophy and political thought. Yet, in 2013 researchers from the University of Indiana found that only 20% of U.S. colleges and universities had formal academic units focused on black studies. In the same year the Association of Jewish Studies programs calculated that about 11% of U.S. colleges and universities had formal academic units dedicated to Jewish studies.
African and Jewish American Convergence and Divergence intends to meet the Carolina Core - Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding (GSS) and overlay VSR- Values, Ethics, and Social Responsibility. The course will examine African American and Jewish American cultural, religious, historic and contemporary relationships using an educational lens with emphasis on developing theories about how inter-ethnic connections and disconnections are maintained and/or disrupted in schools and society. The course will meet GSS requirements by applying social science methodology to define and analyze problems, draw conclusions, and communicate findings and draw from interdisciplinary knowledge and use theoretical frameworks to explain behavioral and social phenomena and think critically about local and global issues. Students will use multiple theories to analyze and deconstruct institutional structures, events, and people based on race, religion, and class. VSR goals will be met by examining sources of cultural and moral values, demonstrate the importance of values, ethics, and social responsibility and learning how systemic oppression can shape personal and community ethics and decision-making.
This course will support the mission of the Carolinian Creed and offer students a unique prospective on African American and Jewish American convergence and divergence while adding to the Carolina Core courses,
Dear Colleagues, The Jewish Studies program wholeheartedly supports EDTE 218.
This course will generate great interest in our student community and I strongly believe that our students will enormously benefit from it. Moreover, a cross-listing with Jewish Studies (JSTU 218) will fill a key gap in our Jewish studies curriculum. This course is a critical addition to the learning opportunities available at USC: we can't miss this wonderful chance to open our intellectual space to a discussion about the intersections of Jewish education and African American studies. EDTE 218 will offer our students a unique opportunity to learn about these communities' cultural and historical interrelated experiences through a deep exploration of the constructs of race, systemic racism, colonization, assimilation, and activism. The Jewish Studies Program plans to have faculty teach this course in the future.
I remain at your complete dispoal, may you need to discuss further.
Federica Kaufmann Clementi
CONVERGENCE AND DIVERGENCE IN AFRICAN AMERICAN AND JEWISH RELATIONS: HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY
More courses like “Convergence and Divergence in African American and Jewish Relations: Historical and Contemporary” should be established across the university. This course provides a service to all students as a perfect fit for a Carolina Core requirement. The African American Studies Program supports this course strongly because it expands upon our mission which is to promote the vast experiences of African American culture throughout the United States. This course opens the door of understanding cultural relations that are imbedded into the Carolina Creed. This triangular cross-listing extrapolates to USC students the importance of respect and dignity of all peoples. With the existence of this cross-listed course students will also witness the beauty of transdisciplinary research and understanding. This course steps in the right direction toward global citizenship, multicultural understanding and social responsibility for our students at USC. The African American Studies Program plans to have faculty teach this course in the future.
Dr. Nancy D. Tolson
Per our conversation:
I have spoken with the Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Affairs regarding the use of cross-listed courses in the proposal. Based on this conversation, the following issues are noted:
In all, my recommendation is to move forward with the course proposal without the inclusion of the two cross-listed courses. You will, however, need concurrence from both units recognizing that the content of the course is within the scope of the unit and that they support the development of the course using the indicated designator (EDTE). Please let me know if you have any questions.
Return for edits per email request.
Returned at the request of proposer.
Retured per request from proposer.
NOTE: Administratively forwarded to Doug Meade so he can send back to the COE for edits.
I cannot do anything other than send this forward. It does appear as though it will go next to Stan (JSTU) and to me (CAS) again.
I cannot do anything to this proposal except forward it to the next step in the queue. I note that the next stops are JSTU (again) and CAS (again).
The next person who gets this proposal with an option to return it to the the CoE (Rob Dedmon) or to the proponent shoudl do so. That person should sit on this proposal until they see the JSTU 218 or AFAM 218 with a syllabus that is acceptable. They can then copy that syllabus into this proposal and send forward all three coruses.
There are still numerous problems with the syllabus for JSTU 218.
I believe this is the thrid time I'm noting that the answer to B in the GSS justification. To qualify for the Core a course must meet each learning outcome of that Core component. (WHy do you list only 2 LO for GSS and 3 for VSR? You should list all 4 both each.)
I encourage you to look at the CTE's webpages on preparing a good syllabus at the URL http://www.sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/cte/teaching_resources/coursedevelopment/steps_good_syllabus/index.php.
To be sure you get this right on the next attempt, please think about sending the syllabus to me for approval before you submit it in APPS. (I know you sent this syllabus to Rob Dedmon and to me, but I did not read it closely. Rob followed your instructions and inserted this document into APPS and sent the proposals for approval.)
Administratively forwarded due to APPS issue.
Administratively returned for edits.
The VSR Committee thinks that this course has great potential for the VSR overlay and we hope that it will be resubmitted for VSR approval after revisions are made in response to the concerns listed below. However, all Committee members felt that in its current form, the proposal does not sufficiently address the VSR learning outcomes.
For a revision, much greater attention should be given to articulating how course material and student assignments address specific VSR learning outcomes. Each of the three learning outcomes need to be addressed.
Several committee members wrote up detailed comments. Two edited versions of these are given below.
First set of comments:
(1) The most fundamental requirement of Learning Outcome 3 is that the course provide a normative framework for approaching the course content. 3C of the Course Proposal does not make explicit what this normative framework is. It does seem that the course employs normative frameworks, but they are largely unarticulated. For example, the course seems to presuppose that teachers benefit from understanding how black and Jewish history inform student and teacher experiences and how this history informs our educational practices. But this normative framework is not explicitly named in the syllabus and there are no assignments or readings that would allow students to engage with this framework. For instance, the course does not explicitly articulate how teachers or students benefit from greater awareness of these issues.
(2) 3C of the Course Proposal asserts that the course realizes Learning Outcome 3. However, 3C does not sufficiently support this assertion by explaining specifically how the readings and the assignments result in attaining Learning Outcome 3. To some extent this was an issue for 3A and 3B as well, though 3A and 3B provided stronger explanation. For instance, 3A explains that the course will consider the source of value systems by examining the history of colonization, immigration, discrimination, etc.
(3) 3D explains the course assignments, but it does not explain how these assignments are related to the learning outcomes. For instance, what are the students supposed to learn through the poetry or field study exercises? In particular, 3D does not explain how these assignments are supposed to result in the VSR learning outcomes. For instance, how will the Field Study result in, say, a better understanding of the source of values concerning race (LO1)?
Second set of comments:
I like this course and think it works well for Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding (although, of course, we are not the ones judging this). I am also convinced it has strong VSR potential. There are many obvious ways the course could be complemented by an explicit VSR component. But these VSR components are not made very clear and explicit, and they are not even articulated.
Here are some thoughts on how, in my view, some basic sources of unclarity, lack of specification, and undue conflation might be avoided.
The authors seem to assume that there is systematic racism and pervasive antisemitism present in today’s American society. They furthermore assume, and perhaps they might as well say it in a frank and simple way, that this systematic discrimination is the result of accepting a view on what counts as ‘American values’ that is normative and marginalizes non-whites and non-Christians, especially Blacks and Jews. Oppression and disqualification or de-legitimization of the marginalized groups comes from the dominant value system. The oppression is not itself a value, it’s a problem. It is also not necessarily something that is, or should be seen as, a goal in that dominant value system. It seems to me that the authors are somewhat opaque in this regard. That has detrimental effects on the VESR goal formulations. In many places, it seems as though ‘oppression’ and ‘inequity’ is used for ‘values' that impact the minorities and their individual members. In my view, one should keep the two items apart. The dominant value system has the consequence that certain minorities are oppressed and marginalized. And this fact conflicts with another dominant value, civic equality and civil rights. It’s not as though the majority has to be convinced to give up its ‘value’ of oppressing the minorities, rather, the majority should be moved to see the negative effects of the way in which their values have been operated into instruments of discrimination, so that there’s now a conflict with equity and with other values that they genuinely have. If the author of the proposal is saying something like the above, then let this be made explicit. If not, then let the author say how the source and function of values is approached (learning outcome 1). What implications follow for well-being, self-understanding, etc (learning outcome 2)? And what normative framework will be used to provide guidance (learning outcome 3)?
Is equity with diversity the value they are wanting to promote here? If so, why not say that? And how will these be understood?
This is a course in education. But it was not clear how VSR learning outcomes were related to education. What is the VESR impact on all levels mentioned: historical (what, really, do thy mean by the impact of Jews on education, for instance?), social-descriptive (is the worry about the current harmful effect of bias and marginalization on minority children in our education system?), for the participants of the course (what are they learning about values), and also for future implementation in teaching activity by the course participants.
Finally, it would be good to include an explanation, under D, as to how the student project described ‘measures’ VESR outcomes, and more items in the syllabus that address the VESR goals explicitly – or else a more detailed explanation as to how the activities listed directly address VESR learning outcomes. The connection is no doubt there, but it is tenuous and non-explicit in the proposal as submitted. To evaluate this as a VSR course we need to have all of these items explicitly discussed.
THe GSS Committee approves this course for being considered for the Carolina Core.
I am concerned that this EDTE course is very different than any of the other EDTE offerings and that the expertise of the instructors i not in the field of social sciences. If the course is offered by Education faculty, I am also concerned the the course will focus on education only and be too narrow. Please provide a much stronger justification for the development of the course including why it should be offered under EDTE. Also, I would like to see stronger assurances from the cross-listed units that they will participate in offering the course. Please note that there is not a need for more GSS courses in the Carolina Core and so that justification is not compelling.