Multiple Cultural Perspectives Requirement

Hampshire College is committed to the principle that a liberal arts education should include a serious engagement with multiple cultural perspectives. In addition to carrying out the work defined by the Division II contract, every Hampshire student must also complete the multiple cultural perspectives academic requirement. The Division II contract must specify how the student will address the requirement. The special presidential assistant for diversity and multicultural education in collaboration with the dean of faculty oversees this part of the curriculum and is available to answer questions about it.

Multiple Cultural Perspectives in the Division II Experience

The Multiple Cultural Perspectives requirement is to be an integral part of the set of questions that guide the Division II at its inception (Division II form) and completion (Division II portfolio). In consultation with their Division II committees, students will fulfill the requirement through substantial engagement with one or more of the following critical issues: non-Western perspectives; race in the United States; and relations of knowledge and power. At the completion of the concentration, students will present the results of their work in their Division II portfolio, including course work and/or independent research. Students will also describe in their retrospective essay (or elsewhere) the impact those explorations have on their concentration as a whole. This requirement will be described and evaluated as part of the Division II evaluation.

Critical Issues

In satisfying this requirement, students can choose to address one or more of the following critical issues. However, students are encouraged to integrate all three issues into their Division II:

A. Non-Western Perspectives: Study of non-Western peoples and cultures will help our students to understand better the cultural diversity of the interconnected world at large. An intellectually vigorous engagement with non-Western perspectives expands the way one comprehends the world. To achieve this goal students must incorporate study of non-Western peoples and cultures into their Division II.

B. Race in the United States: Study of the history, politics, and culture of race in the United States and elsewhere will enable our students to understand better the conditions that underlie discrepancies of power that often fall along racial lines. Serious academic study of theories and analyses pertaining to "race" offers a more critical approach to students' education. To achieve this goal students must incorporate study of the roles that race and racism play in American culture and society into their Division II.

C. Knowledge and Power: The influence of discrepancies in power and privilege is hidden from most scholarly discourse, where the canons of academic disciplines are apt to be presented as neutral and universal. Study of how academic knowledge may be shaped by relations of power and difference will help our students think more critically about the processes under which intellectual or artistic perspectives can be either privileged or marginalized. To achieve this goal, students must incorporate study of the relations between power and knowledge, in regard to either A (non-Western perspectives), or B (race), into their Division II.