A Loose Canon: An Analysis of Plan II Honors and Cultural Diversity Course Curricula at the University of Texas at Austin

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2023-11

Authors

Gokhale, Pria

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Abstract

Over the past couple decades, controversy surrounding culturally diverse educational standards has taken centre stage of many American political debates. Diversity has come under intense scrutiny by portions of the public and lawmakers as curriculum culture-wars ensue. Professors and students have raised similar issues concerning the adequacy of academic material at the University of Texas at Austin. This thesis explores the extent to which the curriculum in CD flag courses and Plan II Honors Program courses showcases diverse perspectives. Using existing scholarship on diversifying curriculum, this thesis evaluates how the Plan II curriculum engages with Eurocentrism in academic material, and the extent to which courses offered under the Cultural Diversity flag requirement help decolonise knowledge production. My methodology includes original research in the form of syllabus analysis of eight courses which claim to offer a survey of a discipline, and interviews with four professors across a variety of departments at the University of Texas at Austin. Ultimately, this project draws attention to major themes that can be traced across departments which affect the propensity for curriculum to involve a variety of perspectives, and offers several recommendations that institutions should consider in their efforts to continue diversifying syllabus content.

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