Having gone to Sacramento State University, any news that pops up about it tends to grab my attention.
However, this is pretty strange to me.
Who’s better suited to teach about American institutions and ideals: cultural anthropologists or historians of U.S. history? That question is at the heart of a debate about a general education requirement at Sacramento State University that’s riled historians there.
“This has just been a travesty,” said Joseph A. Palermo, a professor of history who opposes the university’s recent decision to allow an anthropology course on cultural diversity in the U.S. to fulfill a state requirement that students complete "comprehensive study" in American history, institutions and ideals, including those relating to the Constitution. The longstanding mandate for all California State University System students has been most commonly fulfilled by two courses in U.S. history and government, and at Sacramento State a survey history course covering 1877 to the present is especially popular. Of the new anthropology alternative, Palermo continued, “This is not a history course -- it’s deficient on all levels.”
I don't know what to make of this. Some weird inter-departmental fighting going on at the college? Politics? I'm kind of baffled.
There's an additional link for everyone - an op-ed by Joseph Palermo, the professor of history who currently teaches the course that fulfills the state requirements.
All of my colleagues among the historians at Sacramento State believe the subject matter of the new introductory “history” course fails to give students an adequate grasp of the significant events and personalities that have shaped U.S. history over the past 100 years, and violates the spirit of a California Code (Title 5, 40404), which establishes American history as a G.E. priority for CSU students.
The new introductory “history” course leaves out, among other things, the Progressive Era, World War I, women’s suffrage, the Great Depression, FDR, the New Deal, World War II, McCarthyism, the Cold War, the Korean War, the nuclear arms race, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the JFK assassination, Freedom Summer, the United Farm Workers Union, the Vietnam War, Stonewall, Watergate, Second Wave Feminism, the Iranian hostage crisis, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Gulf War, globalization, the 9/11 attacks, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Swapping an anthropology course for American history will leave our freshmen and sophomores little understanding of how American institutions have changed through time; how events such as World War I and II transmuted those institutions; and how the historical context altered the balance of power between the branches of the federal government and contributed to the rise of the United States as a global superpower.
Anyone want to help me understand what's going on here?