Diversity: Expanding Theory and Practice

During the 2004-2005 academic year, faculty and graduate student seminar fellows discussed one another's work-in-progess to explore how cultural and social differences, such as those based on race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and sexuality, affect economic opportunity, political inclusion, and social integration.  The seminar successfully opened up conversations about how hierarchies based on difference are reproduced and maintained and how these differences have shaped social processes, institutions and intimate relations over time and place.

 Underlying the seminar readings and discussions are some of the following themes:

  • the social construction of categories of difference;
  • the origins, impact, and future of affirmative action and anti-discrimination policies;
  • cultural, psychological, and structural theories of prejudice and discrimination;
  • representation of difference in art, literature, film, and other popular media;
  • the history and social dynamics of majority-minority group relations;
  • the challenge of multi-ethnic, multi-racial identities and class-based initiatives to anti-discrimination theory & policy;
  • negotiating cross-cultural difference and the politics of globalization;
  • the role of the nation-state in promoting and containing diversity and group equity;
  • reverse discrimination and ideologies of meritocracy, opportunity, and mobility;
  • postcolonial, feminist, and critical race theories of identity, cultural diffusion, and group interaction;
  • debates over separateness, assimilation, and multiculturalism.



Seminar Abstracts