Are you looking for a good graduate school to further your English studies? Well, if you have the University of Chicago’s English Department on your shortlist, you’ll want to make sure you meet their minimum application requirements. In case you’re wondering what those are, the department has made it easy on you: Point blank, unless you’re planning to devote your literary career to “Black Studies,” you should probably find somewhere else to study.
The department issued the following decree this summer:
The English department at the University of Chicago believes that Black Lives Matter, and that the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Rayshard Brooks matter, as do thousands of others named and unnamed who have been subject to police violence.
As literary scholars, we attend to the histories, atmospheres, and scenes of anti-Black racism and racial violence in the United States and across the world. We are committed to the struggle of Black and Indigenous people, and all racialized and dispossessed people, against inequality and brutality. 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 department went on to explain that English is guilty of racism, having provided “aesthetic rationalizations for colonization, exploitation, extraction, and anti-Blackness.”
“Our discipline is responsible for developing hierarchies of cultural production that have contributed directly to social and systemic determinations of whose lives matter and why,” they pontificated. “And while inroads have been made in terms of acknowledging the centrality of both individual literary works and collective histories of racialized and colonized people, there is still much to do as a discipline and as a department to build a more inclusive and equitable field for describing, studying, and teaching the relationship between aesthetics, representation, inequality, and power.”
Asked by Campus Reform to justify the department’s focus, University official Gerald McSwiggan explained that because of the pandemic and the “limited employment opportunities for English PhDs,” the department felt it necessary to restrict admissions to those interested in furthering “scholarship in Black Studies.”
Yeah, if we’ve learned anything over the last five years or so, it’s that our nation’s universities are sorely lacking a focus on critical race theory, “Black Studies,” and other such areas of scholarship. It’s not until literally every class in every discipline in every department is focused on nothing else that we can truly say we’ve achieved racial equality in academia.
At this rate, that singularity should arrive sometime in January.