The story of ‘us’

Jason Purnell, associate professor at the Brown School


I teach a course called “Social Justice & Human Diversity” for mostly first-year social work master’s students in the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. It’s been my contention that in order to understand these broad topics, my students must confront history in ways that complicate common narratives about this nation and the broader world, including contradictions between espoused values and actual outcomes for marginalized individuals and groups.

Two texts have guided us through this historical exploration: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki.

Read the full piece in the American Bar Association’s Human Rights Magazine.


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