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UT student discusses African American history class, importance of diverse courses

WRITTEN BY Frances Seiters

The University of Tennessee has many classes concerning all types of majors. There are general education courses along with required courses for majors/minors. In particular, there are many classes concerning race, gender and sexuality, which have become quite popular at the university.

When it comes to feminism, UT offers a number of courses which consist of music, gender and sexuality, gender of globalization, philosophy of feminism and psychology of feminism. These are just a handful of classes that pertain to this topic.

More specifically, a class that seems to be popular currently is African American history. Students have spoken highly of the professor who teaches this course, Dr. Kefenste, and how he has handled the class format during a pandemic to make it easier on students.

Elvyn Agboto, an engineering student at UT, gave his perspective as a student in the class. 

“In the class, we learn about Africans from their kingdoms all the way to how they are contemporarily. A large portion of the class has to do with slavery and the Antebellum period of the United States,” Agboto said about the class.

The course material is a bit self-explanatory with its title, but it is a history class that represents the importance of knowing where people come from. Taking US History or European history is very common and people do not often get exposure to different cultures. UT provides the opportunity to learn about them with courses such as this.

Students seem to have nothing but good things to say about Dr. Kefenste.

Agboto further shared his thoughts on the professor. 

“He (Dr. Kefenste) is super nice and is really passionate about the work he does and how he teaches it to us. The class is relatively easy if you pay attention and actually do your work and kind of apply your knowledge,” Agboto said.

Another perspective is that the majority of students attending UT are white. This affects the people you see in class and the people you see as you walk around campus. The class itself seems very interesting with its content, but it also reflects on how minorities are represented on campus in general. 

The willingness to learn about other cultures is incredibly important. UT provides these opportunities and great professors to help guide students through subjects which are a bit foreign to them, but are necessary.

UT also offers classes concerning social issues and things that are happening in the world today, ranging from classes on global politics and the environment to religious studies.

Diversity is important when it comes to education because a knowledgeable and open mind can get you far in life, and, luckily, UT has a variety of courses to choose from to expand your horizons.