Yale will stop offering a very popular art class because it covers artists who are “overwhelmingly white, straight,” and European.
The cancellation of Western Civilization was detailed in the Yale Daily News.
“Introduction to Art History: Renaissance to the Present” was touted as a quintessential class with a storied decades-long history, but it will be no longer offered because it is simply not diverse enough.
Tim Barringer, the instructor of the course and the chair of the Art history department, said that he saw value in all the objects studied in the class, but added the the focus on white European art was “problematic.”
The final iteration of the class will question the idea of Western art before it closes down.
“I want all Yale students (and all residents of New Haven who can enter our museums freely) to have access to and to feel confident analyzing and enjoying the core works of the western tradition,” Barringer added. “But I don’t mistake a history of European painting for the history of all art in all places.”
Students responded to the news that the class was going to be cancelled by filling up the limited spots available quickly.
The Yale Daily News offered no evidence to its claim that students were objecting to the class, but they did supply a quote from a student disappointed that it was cancelled.
“My biggest critique of the decision is that it’s a disservice to undergrads,” said Mahlon Sorensen.
“If you get rid of that one, all-encompassing course,” Sorensen explained, “then to understand the Western canon of art, students are going to have to take multiple art history courses. Which is all well and good for the art history major, but it sucks for the rest of us, which, I would say, make up the vast majority of the people who are taking [the class].”