It’s 2021 and at the U. of Michigan you can now be a postdoctoral fellow in anti-racism

by WorldTribune Staff, September 1, 2021

It’s a modern American university, one supported by taxpayers in its state to the tune of over $300 million this fiscal year, and so the following should come as no surprise.

The University of Michigan on Aug. 24 launched a sparkling new “Center for Racial Justice.” Naturally, the faux trappings of the pursuit of academic knowledge must accompany the venture. On Aug. 31, the university duly announced postdoctoral positions in the burgeoning field of anti-racism. From UM’s “University Record” publication:

The University of Michigan is welcoming the first two postdoctoral fellows under its new Anti-Racism Collaborative.

Dominique Adams-Santos will work with Celeste Watkins-Hayes in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy as the associate director of the newly established Center for Racial Justice.

Laura-Ann Jacobs’ fellowship is in partnership with the Stepping uP Against Racism and Xenophobia Project, co-led by Deborah Rivas-Drake, professor of education and psychology, and Enrique Neblett, professor of public health.

The anti-racist researchers will be working out of the Hall of Anti-Racism as part of a cutting-edge anti-racism initiative aimed at promoting anti-racism:

Housed in the National Center for Institutional Diversity, the Anti-Racism Collaborative is one of the three components of Provost Susan M. Collins’ anti-racism initiative. Its function is to strengthen research and scholarly engagement around anti-racism at U-M, through mechanisms such as support for postdoctoral fellowships focusing on anti-racism, faculty and student research grants, seminars and symposia, and interdisciplinary scholarly collaboratives.

The Aug. 24 proclamation unveiling the new Center for Racial Justice is equally leaden and weird:

The center will be led by sociologist Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Ford School’s associate dean for academic affairs.

“At the Center for Racial Justice, we believe in the power of public policy to help address the societal challenges that we all face,” said Watkins-Hayes, a university diversity and social transformation professor. “As we examine the fraught histories and consequences of some of our policies and the transformative power of others, we learn a valuable lesson: Effective and just public policy can only be achieved if we bring diverse perspectives to the table.”

Yes, Social Transformation Professorships are a thing at the taxpayer-supported University of Michigan. The school even offers a class titled “Educational Equity, Justice, and Social Transformation.” Here’s a synopsis as posted on UM’s website:

The Educational Equity, Justice, and Social Transformation (EEJST) program in the Master of Arts in Educational Studies is designed to provide students with a foundation in the social, cultural, economic, historical, and political foundations of schooling.

Students in this program will critically examine policy centered on injustice, whiteness, and oppression in educational systems to unpack how these systems have fostered social inequity. This program draws from many disciplinary perspectives for the study of educational contexts, policies and practices to develop possible ways that systematic and structural racism and inequity might be uprooted, disrupted, and challenged—to transform social inequities as they exist in the status quo. The program is largely focused on the U.S. Education System, but also offers courses with a global focus.

In case you missed it: This  a “masters-level” course offering at the University of Michigan.

You can also become a Master of Radicalism at UM via the Center for Racial Justice:

The new center will also host a virtual Masterclass in Activism Oct. 6 featuring Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole. Additional learning opportunities will be added in the fall and winter terms, including workshops and financial support for student-led racial justice initiatives.

“The Center for Racial Justice builds on the Ford School’s long standing strength in social policy and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Dean Michael S. Barr. “The center will play a key role in our work to advance the vitally important cause of bringing racial justice to our policy structures.”

The state of Michigan, i.e., the tax-paying citizens who reside there, provided $322,931,100 in funding to UM for its current fiscal year.

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