The Canon

What place should female authors have in the Core Curriculum?

  • Illustration by Lian Plass
  • From the editors:

    The most common criticism of Columbia College’s Core Curriculum is its lack of female authors. The simple response is that the most influential thinkers in Western civilization were, by and large, men. Works authored by women became prominent only in the last few hundred years, long after most works in Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization were written. But many feel that Core courses’ syllabi should still be expanded to include more female voices to highlight women’s role in the progression of Western thought.  In this week’s Canon, we asked our contributors what the role of female authors in the Core should be. How should women’s contributions to Western thought be represented on syllabi meant to span thousands of years of literature and philosophy? Why is it important that we focus on female authors’ works if they were not the ones most influential in their time? Should these works penned by women be incorporated into already-existing courses, or should we create new courses to balance out the “dead white men,” à la Global Core requirement?

    Emma Finder and Dan Garisto
    Editorial Page Editors

    Add course on gender and identity to the Core

    If the University were to add a course devoted to questions of identity, gender, and bias, the College would not only engage an untapped branch of historical and philosophical thinking, but in doing so, Columbia College would also challenge its own history.


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    MKUltra posted on

    Lian Plass's illustration is the

    Anonymous posted on

    "The most common criticism of Columbia College’s Core Curriculum is its lack of female authors." Really? There's more (white) women on Core syllabi than POC. The Global Core doesn't amend this. POC exist in the context of the Western "canon", not just as Global Others. At any rate, adding more women to syllabi/creating a gender studies course would only be productive if we don't allow white feminism to dominate the conversation (as it always does).

    Anonymous posted on

    Instead of pitting the perspective of POC and women against each other, why not acknowledge that the greater problem is that the core is STILL almost entirely driven by white male perspectives? Women authors are really not your enemy in this debate.

    student posted on

    great job with this!