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Curriculum changes made to correct MIT’s legacy of oppression

MIT has announced that it is adding an alternative course for its entry level freshman requirement in physics – 8.01X Physics, Introduction to Critical Mechanics. The course will discuss the fallibility of objective reality and will introduce the concept of Lived Experience as the primary guide to the physical world.

Students will be encouraged to transcend oppressive notions of space, time, motion and equilibrium with their own language and terms. Force, energy, and power will be shown to be socially constructed elements which have been organized by dominant cultures into mechanisms of systemic oppression. In a final project, students will be asked to construct their own Theory of Mechanics which brings justice, validation, and power to their particular identity group. (Note: Students will be informed that there are no wrong answers to this project.)

This is the first in a series of curriculum changes developed under the direction of MIT chancellor Melissa Nobles, whose campaign to “decolonize research and forge a path towards restorative justice and reconciliation” was announced in the June issue of the prestigious journal Nature.

To avoid disruption of the instruction by privileged classes, this course will only be open to members of MIT’s BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.

This story was submitted by Tannhauser


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