Art | January 30, 2020 10:29 am

Yale Faces Backlash After Diversifying Its Art History Curriculum

Critics are calling the decision "PC idiocy"

Students walk through the campus of Yale University (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Students walk through the campus of Yale University (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Getty Images

On Monday, Yale University announced that it was updating its art history curriculum to be less Eurocentric, replacing two introductory survey courses with new classes that will focus on art from areas beyond Europe and America. That’s a good thing, but naturally, some people perceived it as a slight to old white men, and the university is facing backlash over their decision.

PC Idiocy Kills Classic Art History Class,” screamed the New York Post. “If you want to see smart people behave like philistines, just get them hooked on identity politics,” read one tweet.

“This change is the latest response to student uneasiness over an idealized Western ‘canon’ — a product of an overwhelmingly white, straight, European and male cadre of artists,” the Yale Daily News wrote.

“Essential to this decision is the Department’s belief that no one survey course taught in the space of a semester could ever be comprehensive, and that no one survey course can be taken as the definitive survey of our discipline,” Tim Barringer, chair of Yale’s History of Art Department, and Marisa Bass, director of Undergraduate Studies, explained in a statement.

The new art history classes that will soon be available to Yale students include “Art and Politics,” “Global Craft,” “The Silk Road” and “Sacred Places.”

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