Human and Cultural Diversity

The goal of courses in human and cultural diversity should be to treat the phenomenon as an inherent part of the human condition, and not merely as a contemporary social or political anomaly. Students should be exposed to a basic understanding of the interplay of biological and cultural diversity in the evolution of the human species. This knowledge should form the foundation for an in-depth understanding of cultural, "racial," linguistic, gender, and social diversity in modern societies. Knowledge of biological and ecological diversity should be followed by historically-based material on the distribution and movement of cultural and biological diversity globally, and the link between culture, geography, and the development of different economic systems, including the development of capitalism. Students should understand cultural, ethnic, "racial", linguistic and gender diversity in the West, including in the United States, as the product of the historical interaction between human agency and natural environment. The learning process on diversity can be enhanced by providing students structured opportunities to engage in classroom discussions with peers from different cultural, "racial," ethnic, linguistic, class, and gender backgrounds. Examples of topics that may be covered in courses in diversity are: