Until 2011, UCLA students English had to take a course in Chaucer, a couple in Shakespeare, and one in Milton as the fundamental works of English literature. Some junior faculty revolted, and UCLA promptly changed its course to studying compulsory papers in “Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; Genre Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Critical Theory; or Creative Writing.”

According to the course catalog, giants of English literature were irrelevant. but students must study “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.” UCLA’s undergraduates, therefore, had to choose among courses like, “Women of Color in the U.S., Women and Gender in the Caribbean, Chicana Feminism, Studies in Queer Literatures and Cultures, and Feminist and Queer Theory.”

Likewise, at Columbia University, a black music undergraduate rebelled against the classics. “Why did I have to listen in music humanities to this Mozart? My problem with the core is that it upholds the premises of white supremacy and racism. It’s a racist core. Who is this Mozart, this Haydn, these superior white men? There are no women, no people of color.”

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