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Student Movements for Multiculturalism

, 216 pages
November 2002
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Student Movements for Multiculturalism

Challenging the Curricular Color Line in Higher Education

Beginning with the premise that a comprehensive understanding of American life must confront the issue of race, sociologist David Yamane explores efforts by students and others to address racism and racial inequality—to challenge the color line—in higher education. By 1991, nearly half of all colleges and universities in the United States had established a multicultural general education requirement. Yamane examines how such requirements developed at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin at Madison during the late 1980s, when these two schools gained national attention in debates over the curriculum.

Based on interviews, primary documents, and the existing literature on race and ethnic relations, education, cultural conflict, and the sociology of organizations, Student Movements for Multiculturalism makes an important contribution to our understanding of how curricular change occurs and concludes that multiculturalism represents an opening, not a closing, of the American mind.

David Yamane is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame.

"The book's clarity and succinctness increase its accessibility to both researchers and practitioners... Yamane successfully argues the need for a multicultural curriculum by attempting to bridge the arguments of those for and against such a requirement [and] pushes the reader to not be satisfied with the current marginalization of the multicultural curricular requirement as only one or two courses of a student's general education requirement."

"This account of recent higher education history is a study in the power of students to affect their education."

"In an interesting and well-written analysis of two key cases, Yamane identifies and analyzes recent student movements oriented toward advancing multicultural curricula. He does an excellent job of situating these movements within the larger landscape of higher education."

"This is a meticulously researched and theoretically well-informed study that illuminates how student demands for multiculturalism in the curriculum become education innovations that may ultimately be incorporated into the normal practices and enduring structures of higher education. Yamane shows well how efforts for broad-scale social change are simultaneously advanced and blunted by organizational and institutional intricacies."

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