This warning concerns courses taught by Professor Stephen Harris at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

A. This course engages images, stories, words, and ideas that you might find offensive. They directly or indirectly involve violence, sexism, racism, agism, able-body-ism, classism, and many of the prejudices and shortcomings of the human species. If you believe that you may be offended, or that any of these images, stories, words, or ideas may trigger a trauma, then please avail yourself of the many, many other opportunities at UMass and do not take this course.

B. This course concerns the cultures of North America, Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia over the span of 3,000 years. During those years, many ideas were promulgated that contradict prevailing orthodoxies in the United States. If you are unwilling or unable to engage foreign cultures, ancient cultures, or ideas that contradict or challenge your own, then please do not take this course.

C. My professional expertise is limited to the long cultural history of Western Europe, North Aftrica, and the eastern Mediterranean. Because I have no expertise in the languages or cultures of Asia, Australia, South America, Central and Southern Africa, or the Pacific Ocean, I do not include these languages and cultures in my university courses. The University of Massachusetts offers extensive study in the languages and cultures of these regions. You are welcome to pursue that study. If you are offended that this course is less than all-inclusive, then please do not take this course.

D. The texts that we read in this course have been informed by Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, Nordic Paganism, and a number of other religious traditions. They have also been informed by rationalism, pragmatism, capitalism, liberalism, conservatism, monarchy, anarchism, and other philosophical, political, and economic programs. If you are unwilling or unable to engage such traditions and programs, then please do not take this course.

E. Because of the large number of students I teach, and because each has his or her individual views, I cannot and will not modify or alter my lectures to accord with any individual's personal views, predilections, identity, ideology, traumas, or areas of potential offense. I will not edit assignments or tests. Having warned you of potential offense, I assert my right under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to freedom of speech (as described by the ACLU) and my privilege of academic freedom as defined by the laws, statutes, and statements of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as the contracts and provisions of the following organizations: the American Association of University Professors, the Massachusetts Society of Professors, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and the Association of American Educators.

Afterword: If you believe that your right to free and equal access to the content of this course is impeded by my assertion of my individual rights and privileges as afforded me by the laws of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and by the policies of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, then you may consult with the Ombud's Office, Students' Legal Services Office, Office of Diversity Matters, or any of the offices listed by the Advocacy, Inclusion, and Support programs at the University.

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