The mass demonstrations over the past few months in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many others stand as an urgent call for people in the U.S. and around the world to reckon with the violence visited upon racialized groups on a daily basis. The UA Little Rock Department of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies recognizes that Black, indigenous, and people of color face systemic injustices. These injustices also intersect with those faced by LGBTQ+ folk, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups that do not stop at the edges of the university campus but exist within our institution as well. We also recognize that, as philosophers and especially as a faculty with no representation of BIPOC communities, we have a particular responsibility to better support our BIPOC students and colleagues. Therefore, in the Fall 2020 semester the faculty of our department will commit to the following first steps:
- exploring ways to diversify and decolonize our curricula by adding more works by BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized groups in all our courses;
- reviewing our program and course learning objectives, in order to ensure that they reflect the priorities and support the educational needs of all our students;
- researching equity-minded, anti-racist pedagogical practices that actively affirm the experiences of BIPOC students, LGBTQ+ students, and students with disabilities;
- exploring opportunities for engagement with our local community in order to support and facilitate anti-racist action.
After beginning these initial steps, the department will identify and communicate specific goals for further action in Spring 2021 and beyond.
(This statement, and updates to follow, can also be found on the department’s Mission and Vision page.)