Photo gallery: SEAS hosts workshop on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery

Interactive workshop discusses ethical dilemmas of the legacy and its impact on Harvard today

The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging recently held a workshop for staff members of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences on "Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery," a report released by the University in April 2022. The discussion explored ethical dilemmas raised by the legacy and reflected on the University's roles and responsibilities engaging with this legacy.

Following a screening of the short film, “Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery,” attendees examined "A Forced Reckoning," a fictional case study of five Harvard students reacting to a classroom lecture on Harvard’s involvement with the development of race science. Subsequent workshop discussion topics included: relating the legacy to students from backgrounds and parts of the world with less of a direct connection to slavery in America, without losing focus on the specific groups harmed by it; framing the goal of education as developing a new, more expanded worldview instead of a set of practical skills; teaching in an inclusive manner without automatically requiring mandatory programming that might infringe on students' academic autonomy; and teaching the legacy without reducing current students of color to token representatives of their communities.

Topics: Diversity / Inclusion, Ethics

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