Decolonizing Teaching: A Cross-Curricular and Collaborative Model for Teaching about Race in the University

  • St. Clair D
  • Kishimoto K
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Teaching about race in college settings began in the 1960s and 1970s when Ethnic Studies and other race-specific programs emerged as a response to the absence of histories and perspectives of people of color in academia. However, there have been challenges to this inclusion of discussions of race in the curriculum. For example, the teaching about diversity and multiculturalism that occurred in the late 1980s were apolitical and ahistorical conceptions of multiculturalism. The authors suggest that an accommodationist teaching of multiculturalism benefits "corporatized academies" in a way that evades discussions of inequalities created by, for example, capitalism. They also argue that there exists a danger of a ghettoization or compartmentalization of race in college curricula. In addition, the existence of Ethnic Studies may be perceived as permission for other disciplines to avoid the discussions of race. Furthermore, colleges and universities are co-opting this course content and transforming it into "diversity" and "multiculturalism" that dodges the challenging issues including White privilege, institutional racism, social position and oppression. This model of multiculturalism also puts forward the common stance of colorblindness as a response to racism that the authors continue to struggle against. This article discusses a cross-curricular and collaborative model for teaching race at St. Cloud State University that resists the compartmentalization and co-optation of classes that teach about race. (Contains 2 figures and 1 note.)

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  • ERIC, Current Index to Journals in Education (CIJE

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  • Darlene St. Clair

  • Kyoko Kishimoto

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