Resisting Corporate Multiculturalism: Mapping Faculty Initiatives and Institutional-Student Harassment in the Classroom

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This paper argues that calls for multicultural curricula in universities across the US can be met with strategic curricular interventions that radically confront gendered racisms across regional, national, and international racial formations. Faculty who risk making such interventions should plan for student and institutional resistances. Intersecting consumer and corporate interests desire universities to be socially nonconflictual and economical places of leisure and entertainment, not sites of critical intervention. Accordingly, we theorize how and why faculty committed to oppositional multiculturalism might be cast as transgressive. In so doing, we pay particular attention to how identity politics are quadrangulated through embodiment, performance, time, and place. We additionally discuss ways for systematically working against the grain of gendered racisms and for supporting those who are teaching multiculturalism (critically) or seen to embody it. Working against the grain is particularly important as we enter the 21st century, given the increasing diversification of faculty and student bodies in universities across the US and the attendant risks “diverse” persons take, risks generally not experienced or acknowledged by White Americans.

Keywords: institutional silences; oppositional multiculturalism; race; student harassment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: DePaul University, 2: University of Southern California

Publication date: November 1, 2000

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