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.
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Matt Goisman | firstname.lastname@example.org