Addressing Race, Ethnicity and Racism in the Geography Undergraduate Curriculum

Authors: M. DeVivo*,
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Geography Education
Keywords: Race, Racism, Black Lives Matter!, Geography Education
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 11
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Sparked by the George Floyd killing on 25 May and subsequent protests, the California state legislature passed AB 1460. The bill mandated that students at all 23 California State University institutions take at least one ethnic studies course to graduate. The legislature defined ethnic studies as a study of race and ethnicity with special focus on four historically defined racialized core groups: Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latina and Latino Americans. It is argued here that geography programs across the US follow suit in addressing racism and violence against people of color. One strategy is to mandate a course specifically devoted to the geography of race, ethnicity, and racism. Another option is to incorporate modules dedicated to addressing racism in all introductory courses. Moving beyond simply fostering an “awareness,” which is often clouded in ambiguity, and addressing structural racism, ethnic violence, and white supremacy is not only a moral imperative, but also an opportunity for geography programs to attract students committed to social justice. This presentation offers insight concerning how revision of courses across the geography curriculum, in addition to inclusion of a course on immigration and ethnicity, can address these issues.

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