Cornell course teaches black holes could be linked to ‘racial Blackness’

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Cornell University has introduced an astronomy course to explore the connection between the term black holes and “racial blackness” — proof, say critics, that even the hard sciences aren’t immune to universal “racial hysteria.”

The course, titled “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos,” uses work from black studies theorists, artists and fiction writers to challenge “conventional wisdom” about the role that race plays in astronomy.

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“Conventional wisdom would have it that the ‘black’ in black holes has nothing to do with race. Surely there can be no connection between the cosmos and the idea of racial blackness. Can there?” reads the college catalog description.

For the first time, EHT scientists have mapped the magnetic fields around a black hole using polarized light waves. With this breakthrough, we have taken a crucial step in solving one of astronomy’s greatest mysteries.

For the first time, EHT scientists have mapped the magnetic fields around a black hole using polarized light waves. With this breakthrough, we have taken a crucial step in solving one of astronomy’s greatest mysteries.
(EHT Collaboration)

Students at the Ivy League school are taught that readings, music and art “implicitly and explicitly posit just such a connection,” according to the description.

“Theorists use astronomy concepts like ‘black hole’ and ‘event horizons’ to interpret the history of race in creative ways, while artists and musicians conjure blackness through cosmological themes and images,” the description says.

Taught by astronomy professor Nicholas Battaglia and comparative literature professor Parisa Vaziri, the course will reference work from authors such as Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson as well as music by Sun Ra, Outkast and Janelle Monáe.

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The course will also draw on teachings from theorists such as Michelle Wright and Denise Ferreira da Silva.

Cornell University buildings viewed from McGraw Tower. 

Cornell University buildings viewed from McGraw Tower. 
(iStock )

The course, however, has drawn criticism from some who see it as the latest example of the “racial hysteria” taking over college campuses.

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“If you want to know what an intellectual wasteland the Ivy League has become, at Cornell they are wondering whether ‘black holes’ are racist,” wrote one Twitter user.

Another added, “The term ‘Black Hole’ is not about race or skin color. In fact this course from Cornell likely is causing way more damage than good.”

“Even the hard sciences are no longer immune to the ongoing racial hysteria,” wrote a third Twitter user.

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