Rice University launches 'Afrochemistry' course to tackle 'inequities in chemistry'

'Students will apply chemical tools and analysis to understand Black life in the U.S. and students will implement African American sensibilities to analyze chemistry,' a course description from the catalog noted.

Rice University launches 'Afrochemistry' course to tackle 'inequities in chemistry'
CultureMap Houston
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Rice University is now conducting a course titled "Afrochemistry," aimed at tackling “inequities in chemistry and chemical education” as part of its ongoing DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity) initiatives in Texas.

Per the details available in an online course schedule and catalog, this chemistry course is scheduled without a final examination and runs from January 8 to April 19, 2024, reports the Daily Caller.

“Students will apply chemical tools and analysis to understand Black life in the U.S. and students will implement African American sensibilities to analyze chemistry,” a course description from the catalog noted.

“Diverse historical and contemporary scientists, intellectuals, and chemical discoveries will inform personal reflections and proposals for addressing inequities in chemistry and chemical education. This course will be accessible to students from a variety of backgrounds including STEM and non-STEM disciplines. No prior knowledge of chemistry or African American studies is required for engagement in this course.”

Established in 1912, Rice University is a private higher education institution and was ranked 17th in the category of best "national university" according to U.S. News's 2024 rankings.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) highlighted the university's course as an illustration of the increasing influence of postmodernist and deconstructionist ideologies in traditionally rigorous scientific disciplines. The WSJ article criticized this trend, stating it as indicative of a growing acceptance and encouragement of anti-scientific and anti-dissent philosophies within the scientific community at large.

Jerry Coyne, a retired professor and biologist from the University of Chicago, expressed on his blog that the advertisement for the course described it as "The Study of Black Lives Matter." He criticized this approach, arguing that such courses contaminate science by substituting rigorous scientific inquiry with progressive activism.

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