How college dorms evolved to fit America’s gender and racial politicsBreaking News
tags: college, college dorms, american college, gender politics, racial politics
The residence hall in the United States has come to mark the threshold between childhood and adulthood, housing young people during a transformational time in their lives. When parents drop their kids off at college, do they pose in front of a classroom building or the library? Maybe. But it’s the unloading of clothes, computers, and comforters at the dorms that defines the break between childhood and adulthood.
This rite of passage is taken much more seriously by Americans than by people in other countries. In the United States, largely because of Americans’ romantic attitude toward the universities of Oxford and Cambridge—where young men once lived and studied together and forged lasting identities based on shared housing—students living together in one building has come to be seen as an essential part of the college experience. Students spend just 12 or 15 hours per week in class, plus a few hours of study; the rest of the time they are socializing, working out, gaming, managing clubs, politicking, making music, and relaxing with friends. In short, they are forging connections that will last a lifetime and establishing a network that will benefit their careers.
But living on campus—and the social benefit Americans place on it today—was never inevitable. American universities haven’t always intended for dorms to bring people together; campus housing was also organized, for many years, to keep groups of students apart. In fact, the very first purpose-built residence for college students in America was the Indian College at Harvard University, constructed by a British religious society in the mid-17th century to house Native American students and keep them separate from white boys.
comments powered by Disqus
- How the Black Power Movement Influenced the Civil Rights Movement
- Nine books to read for Black History Month
- A Bittersweet Homecoming for Egypt’s Jews
- Institutional racism and minimal recognition: Inside Du Bois’ complicated history at Penn
- President Trump's Take on Parasite Echoes an Old Debate Over the Role of Non-American Films at the Oscars
- Gordon Wood Reviews Mary Beth Norton's ‘1774’ for the Wall Street Journal
- Black Perspectives Reviews Black Banking and Women Financial Power Brokers
- A lost history, recovered: Faded records tell the story of school segregation in Virginia
- H.R. McMaster book `Battlegrounds’ coming out in April
- Trump loves ‘Gone With the Wind.’ Historians, not so much.