Third World Requirement and the Rapid Shift

Curriculum Change
Third World Requirement and the Rapid Shift

Third World Requirement and the Rapid Shift

Multiculturalism as a concept was refined by a series of shifts in the behavior of both American university systems and American society as a whole. The first shift arrived at the turn of the nineteenth century, as new immigrants threatened to disrupt the American model of liberal Protestantism. To combat this change, a renewed focus on “Americanization” and assimilation appeared in school systems, feeding into a curriculum in which the accomplishments of a select few white men received attention and meritted subsequent emulation.

Yet, this model was not built to last as the World Wars put an end to American isolationism, prompted the migration of African Americans from the American South, and fostered a world in which international communication and conflicts became the new norms. In light of these changes, universities and colleges found themselves in desperate need of more diverse coursework to prepare their students for the future.

However, it was not until the late 1960s that the idea of non-Western coursework as a reflection of appreciation for other cultures was introduced through the efforts of those students protesting for the Black Studies movement. Even into the 1980s, students of color were often forced to take direct action to make their voices heard on the subject.

- Jorie Thuon, Class of 2019

Curriculum Change
Third World Requirement and the Rapid Shift