Two years ago, the Philosophy Department at the University of Dallas made a bold step into the 21st century when it renamed the second philosophy Core course to “Philosophy of the Human Person,” from “Philosophy of Man.” For the first time ever, the school explicitly recognized women as being equal to men in the realm of philosophy.
This was an important but ultimately overdue development. For too long women at the school felt excluded by a course title that callously ignored their shared humanity with men. Unfortunately, it is not the only course title that needs to be changed. Course titles ought to more accurately portray what exactly is being taught so as to be more sensitive to our diverse student body.
The “Literary Tradition” classes, for example, sadly imply that there are no other books of importance in our literary tradition outside of Eurasia and the United States. How would famed Australian author, Thomas Keneally, feel if he heard that he was arbitrarily excluded from the literary tradition? Or how about André Brink, the South African author of the unforgettable, “An Instant in the Wind?”
There are too many great authors who would undoubtedly feel hurt if they heard that our school denied their contributions to literature. I propose “Selections of the Literary Tradition” as the title of the four classes. This title would serve to accurately inform students of the nature of the course while being sensitive to those authors who are unfortunately excluded.
The freshman theology class, “Understanding the Bible” is another course overdue for renaming. What about those students who do not understand the Bible? Senior history major Jack Grubner, remembers being bullied simply because he was confused by the doctrine of divine inspiration.
“The other people in my class wouldn’t stop making fun of me,” Grubner said. “They laughed at me, saying that I didn’t know jack about the Bible in a course named ‘Understanding the Bible.’ ”
A more inclusive title like “A Nonjudgmental Attempt to Understand the Bible” would be massively helpful in making sure that students like Jack do not feel excluded.
Even “Philosophy of the Human Person,” which was the impetus for this article, is not without fault. Those members of the student population who identify as non-human are right to be indignant that their feelings have been forgotten. Shortening the course title to “Philosophy of the Person” would more effecively incude those who identify as part or fully vampire, dragon and fairy, among others.
These are only a few of the course that are in desperate need of renaming. Changing “American Civilization” to “History of Postcolonial Rich White People in the United States of America” (HPRWPUSA for short) and “Fundamentals of Economics” to “Fundamentals of Capitalism” are a few more examples.
Renaming the classes in the core curriculum would serve the double purpose of being more accurate and more sensitive to the feelings of the student population. I call upon the administration to listen to the outcry of the people and make these necessary changes by next semester. It’s 2016, people, and it’s time for change.
Disclaimer: This is the April Fools’ edition of the paper. All stories are fictitious in nature.