Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities: A Transdisciplinary Approach

Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities: A Transdisciplinary Approach

Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities: A Transdisciplinary Approach

Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities: A Transdisciplinary Approach

Synopsis

This book provides both an overview of the core dilemma in America--racism and the deadly impact it has had on American society--and an account of the ways in which the book's contributors have attempted to deal with this dilemma in their own teaching practice.

Two core essays explore the theoretical and historical issues involved in defining "races" and "ethnic groups" in the West, and issues of racial and ethnic inequality in American society. The volume then examines a variety of strategies for "teaching the conflicts" in comparative literature and politics; African American literature; law, history, and political science; sociology; religion; economics; anthropology; and art and music.

A premise of this book is that multicultural education in colleges and universities must be transdisciplinary--based on the perspectives offered by a multiplicity of interrelated disciplines. Clearly, scholars across the disciplines have a great deal to learn from one another about issues of race and ethnicity in American society. This book shares such knowledge in order to provide relevant, accurate information about these issues and their consequences for individuals living in America. It also encourages university educators to understand the challenges we face as a society and to be idealistic enough to want to draw upon the various strengths of our culture to assist in the remaking of American democracy.

Excerpt

This volume provides readers with both an overview of the core dilemma in America--racism, and the deadly impact it has had on U.S. society--and an account of the ways in which we have attempted to deal with it in our own teaching practices. Two core chapters--by Berkowitz and Barrington and by Loewen--explore the theoretical and historical issues involved in defining "races" and "ethnic groups" in the West and issues of racial and ethnic inequality in U.S. society. It then examines a variety of strategies for "teaching the conflicts" in comparative literature and politics (Mzamane), African American literature (Dickerson), law, history, and political science (Ball), sociology (Danigelis), religion (Gussner), economics (McCrate), anthropology (Mahler), art (Rubin), and music (Ambrose). Mzamane advocates doing this by linking the study of comparative literature to the study of worldwide liberation struggles. These, he contends, can be linked back, in the minds of students, to the struggles of racial or ethnic minorities in the United States. Dickerson contends that the teaching of Africanism is inextricably bound up with teaching of Americanness in literature. She accomplishes this through a series of assignments that seek to engage the students in a series of encounters with "racialness." Ball argues that racism itself is the defining aspect of U.S. life. in addition to analyzing the role of racism in law and politics, he adds to this "analytic/historical component of [his] course" an "empathy paper" that seeks to move the student, through imagination, toward a more intuitive appreciation of the pains and disabilities brought about by racism. Danigelis describes his teaching practice in which he identifies three conceptual objectives: distinguishing theory from ideology, framing the key concepts, and applying ideas about race in the classroom. He carries out these objectives, in part, through the use of highly structured debates or conflicts that bring students' theoretical knowledge into articulation with their own environments. Gussner argues that we need to "recontextualize" the study of liberal and religious reform action in order to formulate new models of multiethnic education and understand minority religious movements. McCrate looks at inequality in America and argues that, in order to understand racism, we must find its roots in economic activities such as in the operation of labor markets. Mahler contends that ethnographic fieldwork provides an excellent way for . . .

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