UChicago English department: Grad applicants accepted only for work ‘in and with Black studies’

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The University of Chicago’s English Department has announced that for the 2020-2021 graduate admissions cycle, it will only accept applicants who are interested in working in and with Black studies.

A faculty statement on the department’s website from July declares its commitment “to the struggle of Black and Indigenous people, and all racialized and dispossessed people, against inequality and brutality.”

Sign for the University of Chicago in the Hyde Park area of Chicago, IL, USA on March 12, 2015.

Sign for the University of Chicago in the Hyde Park area of Chicago, IL, USA on March 12, 2015. (iStock)

“For the 2020-2021 graduate admissions cycle, the University of Chicago English Department is accepting only applicants interested in working in and with Black studies,” the statement said. “We understand Black studies to be a capacious intellectual project that spans a variety of methodological approaches, fields, geographical areas, languages and time periods.”

The department said English has a “long history of providing aesthetic rationalizations for colonization, exploitation, extraction and anti-Blackness.”

“In light of this historical reality, we believe that undoing persistent, recalcitrant anti-Blackness in our discipline and in our institutions must be the collective responsibility of all faculty, here and elsewhere,” the statement said.

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It was unclear to what extent an applicant had to be committed to Black studies before being accepted into the university’s English program.

The statement, written in July, came at the peak of summer unrest over the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and against racial injustice in general.

Fox News has reached out to the school’s English department for comment.

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The announcement comes amid a wider push by universities to incorporate race in curriculum, hiring practices and general fields of study. Early last week, for instance, dozens of Cornell University faculty, staff, students and alumni signed onto a letter attacking “colorblind” practices, insisting that the university institute racial quotas and recruit “clusters” of non-White individuals.

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