Carmela Scala (Rutgers University)
Chiara De Santi (SUNY Farmingdale State College)
As the pandemic has brought to the surface the profound division and polarization that affect our societies, including the plague of systemic racism, the silver lining is the greater attention given to the representation of minorities in the humanities, including the teaching of language and culture. As part of a vast interconnected ecosystem, we indeed thrive when we can live harmoniously and interact with others. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and especially not in recent years. As often happens when we face challenging times, we question the fundamental values on which we base our existence. As educators, we have a unique opportunity to shape our students, promoting positive changes in our society, beginning with the classroom. Now more than ever it is imperative that we create an environment in which our diverse student body feels recognized, heard, respected, and included. This panel aims to explore how academia and especially instructors of languages and cultures can use the classroom as a platform to fight systemic racism, while also fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. We welcome both theoretical and practical approaches; papers can be about a specific approach or about strategies and practices that have been successful in promoting these values in the classroom.