College of Humanities
Statement from the CSUN College of Humanities - June 2, 2020
George Floyd. Sandra Bland. Ahmaud Arbery. Trayvon Martin. Tony McDade. Breonna Taylor. Eric Garner. Laquan McDonald. Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Walter Scott. Alton Sterling. Philando Castille. Botham Jean. Amadou Diallo.
“For those of you who are tired of reading about racism, trust me when I say this—I’m tired of writing about it. […] For those of you who are tired of reading about racism, I’m tired of black and brown bodies being killed by it. “ LZ Granderson, LA Times, May 28, 2020
We are the College of Humanities.
We may have our disagreements but we are all united by our commitment to our college mission:
- To explore and value the diversities of cultures, thought, perspectives, literatures and languages of humanity;
- to critically reflect on and analyze multiple dimensions of human identity and experience;
- to contribute to scholarship and creative production and innovation;
- to act as responsible global citizens committed to principles of freedom, equality, justice and participatory democracy.
People have recognized and protested systemic, institutionalized racism for many years. They have also long been met with platitudes about gradual change and slow integration and the eventual evolution of society. It was in 1963 at the March on Washington that John Lewis said, “We are tired. We are tired of being beaten by policemen. We are tired of seeing our people locked up in jail over and over again, and then you holler, 'Be patient.' How long can we be patient? We want our freedom and we want it now!”
And yet, here we are nearly 60 years later. Is it any wonder that patience and restraint do not look like viable options when yet another black man has died at the hands of police? And we are struggling with a pandemic and economic collapse that have disproportionally affected people of color? And those in power seem bent on fanning the flames of rage instead of seeking to bring justice and equity to all?
“Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it. It’s up to all of us – Black, white, everyone – no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets." – Michelle Obama, May 2020
This is our call to action. Of course, it is difficult to know what to do, where to start, how to DO something. But as Michelle Obama points out, we can start with self-examination. We can listen. We can talk. We can support. We can stand up and protest. We can celebrate the leaders who seek always to move us further along the path to justice. We can strengthen even further our commitment to diversity and anti-racism. We can commit to having these conversations and performing these actions, day in and day out, with our students, our faculty, our staff, our alumni and everyone else who crosses our paths.
Many of you who are reading this are already doing these things. Many of you are pioneers in this process and are deeply committed to carrying on the legacy of those who came before. I celebrate you and thank you for your work.
At times like this, it is particularly important to remind ourselves that we can find strength in solidarity.
We are the College of Humanities.
We stand in solidarity with all marginalized communities and allies who are joining together to demand systemic change, racial justice and a society where Black Lives Matter.
Black. Lives. Matter.
Statements by Departments and Programs
Congratulations to our Graduates from Interim Dean Stallcup!
Congratulations, class of 2020!
I am so proud of every single one of you! While we are not able to celebrate this all together at commencement this year, this does not diminish your accomplishment. However long it has taken you (and, just so you know, it took me seven years to finish my BA), you’ve done it!
You’ve had a thousand late-night study sessions, you’ve written countless essays, you’ve filled in a lot of scantron bubbles, you’ve completed labs, and done internships.
But there’s another side to college life as well: you've also made friends—some of whom will be with you for life—and you’ve joined clubs, you’ve tried out new things... you’ve learned a lot about the world.
More importantly, you’ve done social justice work and participated in marches, you’ve helped and you’ve volunteered….
College years are like no other time in your life and I hope that you have gotten everything that you wanted out of your time here at CSUN.
I want to take a moment to thank your support system for all that they’ve done for you while you have studied here. Very few of us make it through college without the help of a lot of people in our lives: moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, sons and daughters.
In a sense, commencement is really a time to celebrate them as well—it’s the moment when you are on stage but they are in the audience, and together you are celebrating all that you have accomplished. You did this with them, and you did this for them, as well as for yourself. And so, my congratulations go to your family and your support groups as well as to you.
Now, one of the things that is missing when we can’t have a commencement ceremony is the commencement speaker. I have taught a class where among other things, we analyzed the rhetoric and messaging of commencement speeches. Of course, there are certain elements that you find in every speech—that’s what marks the genre. But at the same time, each speech is unique and there are a lot of fun ones out there. I invite you to look around at some of the notable ones that are available. I’ve put links to some of my favorites below,
With that, I send you off into the world. I know that you are going to make all of us here at CSUN proud. Do good work, and do it well.
Commencement speakers and other videos:
And here are some notable commencement speeches from other places and people:
Welcome to Humanities
As education becomes ever more focused on professional degrees and vocational training, employers increasingly report that what they seek is not necessarily more specialized degrees but rather people who can think, who can synthesize, who can analyze, and who can apply a broad base of thought to a wide variety of areas. The College of Humanities teaches students to read, write and think. Our graduates are prepared for a 21st-century workforce that advances those who have the power not just to achieve and innovate but to communicate their ideas to an audience beyond their applied field.
Danielle Snali is the 2020 College of Humanities Dean’s Scholar. She is a Religious Studies major, with a Gender and Women’s Studies and History minor, and has accumulated a 3.98 GPA in her studies at CSUN. Danielle is an HSI Pathways/Mellon Student Fellow in the competitive Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) Pathways to the Professoriate Program. Her research project for Read more
Heidi Schumacher, staff coordinator for the HSI Pathways program and a faculty member in GWS and English, is one of the 2019 recipients of the prestigious Don Dorsey Excellence in Mentoring awards. Read more
Dr. Svetlana V. Tyutina (MCLL) has been elected as the Chair of the MLA Delegate Assembly Organizing Committee (January 2020-January 2021). Delegate Assembly is the legislative body of the Modern Language Association, the largest organization in the field of languages and literatures in North America. More information about the DAOC charge
Dr. Mauro Carassai, from the English Department and the Liberal Studies Program, explores the importance of the humanities to the data sciences.
In fields involved with knowledge production, unsupervised machine-learning algorithms are becoming the standard. These algorithms allow us to statistically analyze data sets that exceed traditional analytic capabilities. Why Data Sciences Increasingly Need the Humanities continues
In the United States, Spanish is the most common non-English language spoken in homes, yet limited-English proficient Spanish speakers hit communication barriers in most major industries, such as business, healthcare, legal, government and education.
California State University, Northridge’s Department of Modern & Classical Languages and Literaturesis attempting to bridge these language barriers with the implementation of advanced Spanish translation service-learning courses on the legal and business communities. Read more
In February 2019, CSUN Spanish graduate students were recognized by the San Fernando Valley Bar Association for their work as Spanish/English volunteer interpreters during the pro-bono Family Law Department's event Settle-O-Rama at the LA Superior Court. It is the first time when Spanish interpreting is offered at no cost to litigants during these free mediation services significantly expediting Read more