The University of Southern California (USC) announced the removal of the term “field” from its curriculum at the university’s School of Social Work.
The term’s removal is part of the University’s effort to use inclusive language and practice in school curriculum.
“As we enter 2023, we would like to share a change we are making at the Suzanne-Dworak-Peck School of Social Work to ensure our use of inclusive language and practice,” read USC’s letter. “Specifically, we have decided to remove the term ‘field’ from our curriculum and practice and replace it with ‘practicum.’”
“Another perfectly good word is being canceled: The USC School of Social Work is nixing the word ‘field’ as in ‘field work’ & ‘going into the field,'”said lawyer and professor at the University of San Diego School of Law Gail Heriot.
“USC thinks this has something to do with white supremacy. Please stop.”
Another perfectly good word is being canceled: The USC School of Social Work is nixing the word “field” as in “field work” & “going into the field.” USC thinks this has something to do with white supremacy. Please stop. pic.twitter.com/4AzzrJ3tV8
— Gail Heriot (@GailHeriot) January 11, 2023
“Oh I’ll be speaking in March at [USC]. I’ll make sure to not use the term ‘field’ in solidarity,” said evolutionary behavioral scientist, Gad Saad.
“Today, [USC Social Work] sent out this letter announcing that they will no longer use the word ‘field’ (as in ‘conducting field work’) because it’s perceived as racist,” said board certified MD ophthalmologist and PhD research scientist Houman David Hemmati. “Is this with merit or empty virtue signaling?”
“This change supports anti-racist social work practice by replacing language that would be considered anti-Black or anti-immigrant in favor of inclusive language,” the letter reads. “Language can be powerful, and phrases such as ‘going into the field’ or ‘field work’ maybe have connotations for descendants of slavery and immigrant workers that are not benign.”
The curriculum change aligns with the Council on Social Work Education Advancing Antiracism in Social Work Education through Educational Accreditation Policies and Standards. The policy aligns with the 2021 National Association of Social Work’s commitment to undoing racism through social work, and the Eliminate Racism Grand Challenge for Social Work.
“In solidarity with universities across the nation, our goal is not just to change language but to honor and acknowledge inclusion and reject white supremacy, anti-immigrant and anti-blackness ideologies,” the letter continued. “We are committing to further align our actions, behaviors, and practices with anti-racism and anti-oppression, which requires taking a close and critical look at our profession — our history, our biases, and our complicity in past and current injustices.”
“It also means continuing to work together to train social work students today who understand and embody social and racial justice. This is the bedrock of our values and principles and we all need to hold each other accountable to do better in this regard,” the letter concluded. “We know that changing terminology can be challenging, and a complete transition will take some time, but we thank you in advanca for joining us in this effort and for your patience as we transition.”