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FW: 11/8/99 Daily Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: daily@chronicle.com [SMTP:daily@chronicle.com] Sent: Monday, November 08, 1999 8:00
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 8, 1999
      -----Original Message-----
      From: daily@... <mailto:daily@...>
      [SMTP:daily@...] <mailto:[SMTP:daily@...]>
      Sent: Monday, November 08, 1999 8:00 AM
      To: daily@... <mailto:daily@...>
      Subject: 11/8/99 Daily Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education

      ACADEME TODAY: The Chronicle of Higher Education's
      Daily Report for subscribers

      A glance at the fall issue of "Orbis":
      Teaching multicultural history
      Teaching multicultural history is critical but fraught with "perils," writes
      Walter A. McDougall, a professor of international relations and history at
      the University of Pennsylvania, and the journal's editor. Critical, because
      it helps teach students the one thing they need to learn most: the ways in
      which people are alike, whatever their backgrounds. "For no real toleration
      among peoples can exist unless they are given a reason to imagine themselves
      and others as we, and not just as we and they," Mr. McDougall writes. That
      said, the difficulty comes in figuring out how to teach about other
      cultures. He discusses such problems as avoiding Eurocentrism and the
      watering down of knowledge that occurs when students are required to take
      only one or two courses on non-Western cultures. "It is like the high school
      athletic program that-in between major sports-schedules two days of lacrosse
      and handball just to let students know that those games exist," he writes.
      Bringing up factual but negative information about another culture-the
      historical practice of binding girls' feet in China, for example-puts the
      teacher at risk of being viewed as insensitive, offensive, even racist. "But
      if we are going to teach about other cultures on their own terms, and not
      just as targets for Western imperialism, then we must stress the bad and
      ugly as well as the good." One approach is to look not at why people and
      societies do bad things, but why they sometimes do good things. In this
      light, while acknowledging that European and American societies have been
      "imperialistic and exploitative," Mr. McDougall asserts that the West has
      gifts to offer that have been ignored or denied by radical
      multiculturalists. "What is unique about the West is that it alone has
      declared certain human rights to be universal and tried to devise
      governments that expand, not crush, liberty." The journal is not available
      on line.


      Copyright � 1999 The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inc.
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