By Scarlett Birge, student news writer, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “Diversity and inclusion have a role in what we engage with in our reading,” said Dr. Nathan Gower, associate professor of English, during Campbellsville University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) over Zoom on March 23.
“I’m not sure that we can say it’s morally imperative that you read inclusively,” he said. “But I think it is safe to say that in certain contexts it’s ethically the right thing to do.”
Creative literature forces people to consider other perspectives, he said. When reading works from marginalized groups, the audience is forced to reckon with the unique individual identity being presented.
“If our community is engaged in being intentional about learning about other populations, we’re going to create a shared ethic that is more genuine and true than we would have otherwise,” Gower said.
He said it becomes most important for people in positions of privilege to read other voices inclusively.
“Based on the level of my privilege, I can skate through life ignoring things that I don’t think apply to me,” he said. “I can only do that because of the unearned privilege that I enjoy.”
During the presentation, Gower shared his interviews with authors: Angela Jackson-Brown, award-winning writer and professor of English and creative writing at Ball State University; Dr. Nadeem Zaman, professor of English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland; and Daniel Bowman Jr., associate professor of English at Taylor University and editor in chief at Relief Journal.
They discussed topics such as diverse representation and gatekeeping within literature and the writing community. Being knowledgeable about what is being written and demanding diverse voices to be upheld are a few vital parts of ensuring the inclusion that is required by having this ethical responsibility.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 13,500 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.