Yale Will Eliminate a Beloved Introductory Art Class for Being Too White, Male, and Western

Yale Will Eliminate a Beloved Introductory Art Class for Being Too White, Male, and Western, by Robby Soave.

Enrollment has swelled for Yale University’s introductory art history course, which covers “the Renaissance to the present.” That’s because the school plans to eliminate the popular class after the spring.

According to The Yale Daily News, the art department has decided that the class might make some students uncomfortable due to the “overwhelming” whiteness, maleness, and straightness of the artists who comprise the Western canon (though that last label may be dubious). Indeed, the focus on Western art is “problematic,” course instructor Tim Barringer told the student newspaper. …

No go. Painted by a white man (Renoir).

It has become more common in recent years for small cabals of students to rebel against liberal arts curricula that they feel are too focused on Western artists, authors, and thinkers. Students at Reed College, for instance, successfully pressured educators to disband an introductory humanities course. In that case, the activists demanded that all European texts be removed and replaced by non-European books as a form of reparations “for Humanities 110’s history of erasing the histories of people of color, especially black people.” …

When a university eliminates an introductory art class because a tiny number of ideologues object to the whiteness and maleness of it all, it feels like they are declining to teach history because some people don’t like what happened.

The West’s outsized influence on the events of the last several centuries may very well be problematic, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.