CSCRE Faculty Question Editorial

(Published as "Faculty Offer Additions to Editorial" in the ITHACAN, Feb. 17, 2011, page 10)


The faculty of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity shares some of the optimism found in a recent editorial in the Ithacan regarding the dismantling of the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies (College-Wide Learning, Feb. 3). However, we also want to make some points and offer some clarifications.


First, we question the casting of interdisciplinarity in zero-sum terms, which suggests that we could either have had DIIS or campus-wide interdisciplinarity. No one has made a compelling intellectual argument as to why this is the case. Second, we question the procedural similarities between the ways in which the Center was relocated and the recent attacks on black/race/ethnic studies on other campuses, including Cornell University. In this context, we wonder why the Ithacan did not interview any faculty in the center for our views on this subject.


Further, while the editorial rightly “applauds” Provost Greg Woodward for the difficult work he had to do to dismantle DIIS, we feel that the Ithacan missed an opportunity to applaud the years of service and leadership of former DIIS Dean Tanya Saunders. The unique vision and charge of DIIS, which generated innovative and interdisciplinary programs, festivals, centers and initiatives, are the result of Saunders’ leadership.


We want to make it clear that we look forward to working with Dean Leslie Lewis, who has built up an impressive record in her time here. Having said that, the School of Humanities and Sciences has a large and multifaceted administration that, in practical terms, means that there are new forms, new committees, new reports and additional meetings to deal with. In the grand scheme of world events, these are excruciatingly small changes, but they require hours and hours of extra labor and time on all our parts.


It is also important to note that, because of our courses, our participation in collegewide committees and our interactions with student clubs, the CSCRE faculty did not feel isolated being part of DIIS. We did, however, understand that DIIS students “did not have the same resources” as perhaps other students, and we hope moving the programs to H&S will rectify this situation.


Lastly, the editorial claims that DIIS programs will be moving to new locations.  This is not the case for CSCRE, which will stay in its current space — 101 Center for Health Sciences.


ASMA BARLAS, professor and program director in CSCRE

SEAN EVERSLEY BRADWELL, assistant professor in CSCRE

PAULA IOANIDE, assistant professor in CSCRE

GUSTAVO LICÓN, assistant professor in CSCRE



Originally published in Asma Barlas: CSCRE Faculty Question Editorial.

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