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Soo Ah Kwon

Drawing on existing literature and student ethnographic projects, this article examines Asian American undergraduates' overwhelming focus on individual racial identity and practices of racial segregation in their ethnographic research about the University of Illinois. The author examines how such racial segregation is described and analysed as a matter of personal 'choice' and 'comfort' rather than as the result of racial inequality, racism and the marginalisation and racialisation of minority groups. This lack of structural racial analysis in the examination of Asian American students' experiences points to the depoliticisation and institutionalisation of race in higher education today. Race is understood and more readily analysed as a politically neutral concept that invokes celebration of racial diversity and 'culture' and not as a concept marked by power and inequities as it once may have been.

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Mary Taylor Huber, Joseph Heath, Rebecca Boden, John Craig, and Christopher Newfield

Responses to ‘The academic rat race: dilemmas and problems in the structure of academic competition’, published in Learning and Teaching 5.2 from Mary Taylor Huber, Joseph Heath, Rebecca Boden, John Craig and Christopher Newfield

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Teresa Ramos

The Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) joins a long history of critique, challenge and transformation of higher education. EUI courses are an important site for the creation of non-traditional narratives in which students challenge 'business-as-usual' in higher education. For under-represented students, this includes inquiry and analysis of the racial status quo at the University. In this article, I provide a student's perspective on EUI through my own experiences with EUI research as both an undergraduate and later graduate student investigating race and racism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I). Using ethnographic methods and drawing on critical race theory, I provide two examples of EUI research that critiqued the University's management of race. The first example is a collaborative ethnography of the Brown versus Board of Education Commemoration at U of I – a project that I joined as an undergraduate (Abelmann et al. 2007); and the second is my own dissertation on 'racial risk management', a project that emerged from my encounter with EUI. I discuss both projects as examples of Critical Race Ethnography, namely works based on empirical research that challenge institutions' racial composition, structure and climate.

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Xavier Landes, Martin Marchman, and Morten Nielsen

The social benefits expected from academia are generally identified as belonging to three broad categories: research, education and contribution to society in general. However, evaluating the present situation of academia according to these criteria reveals a somewhat disturbing phenomenon: an increased pressure to produce articles (in peer-reviewed journals) has created an unbalanced emphasis on the research criterion at the expense of the latter two. More fatally, this pressure has turned academia into a rat race, leading to a deep change in the fundamental structure of academic behaviour, and entailing a self-defeating and hence counter-productive pattern, where more publications is always better and where it becomes increasingly difficult for researchers to keep up with the new research in their field. The article identifies the pressure to publish as a problem of collective action. It ends up by raising questions about how to break this vicious circle and restore a better balance between all three of the social benefits of academia.

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Heritage or hate?

A pedagogical guide to the confederate flag in post-race America

Cameron D. Lippard

per cent saw it as representing racism. By 2015, Jones (2015) reported 54 per cent of Americans saw the flag as about Southern pride whereas 34 per cent saw it as representing racism. However, there are important differences based on the race of

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Elsa Rodeck, Maki Kimura, and Patrick Ainley

Rebekah Nathan (2005) My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student Review by Elsa Rodeck

Steve Spencer and Malcolm Todd (eds) (2006) Reflections on Practice: Teaching ‘Race’ and Ethnicity in Further and Higher Education Review by Maki Kimura

James Avis (2007) Education, Policy and Social Justice, Learning and Skills Review by Patrick Ainley

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Mary Evans

In debates about the admission of state school pupils to Oxbridge various individuals within those institutions have challenged the idea that universities should be vehicles of social change. At the same time, Oxbridge and other universities have accepted the responsibility of 'enabling' entrepreneurship and other market-led initiatives. I want to explore some of the implications of this position in terms of the making of the person in higher education and in particular the ways in which conservative refusals of the recognition of class, gender and race differences reinforce wider structural inequalities.

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

Welcome to Volume 4 of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. LATISS has been gradually widening its focus from its point of origin in the U.K. and this issue is truly international with material from Latin America, U.S.A, Sweden and England. LATISS’s approach – to study and reflect on the detail of teaching and learning practices in contexts of institutional change and national and international policies – is also well exemplified by the articles in this issue. For example, three of the articles explore issues of ‘race’ and ethnicity in connection with programme design, institutional politics and classroom relations respectively and in very different historical and policy contexts. Two articles also connect to topics on which LATISS has recently published special issues: on gender in higher education and on using the university as a site to critically explore the meaning and operation of neoliberalism.

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Priscilla Fortier

This article describes the findings of an undergraduate Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) course in which students examined the university's efforts to improve the racial climate of the campus. These institutional efforts are intended to create a more comfortable environment for under-represented minority students who often comprise a significantly smaller group on campus than in their home neighbourhoods and high schools. Many minority group students experience isolation and discomfort connected to a lack of 'ownership' of campus spaces and traditions, which tend to be monopolised by white students. In my EUI class, which was sponsored by the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) at the University of Illinois (U of I), under-represented minority students focused their ethnographic projects specifically on campus-sponsored programmes intended to facilitate interaction across racial and ethnic groups. Of particular interest to students were programmes related to residence halls and campus social spaces. The findings presented here indicate that campus-sponsored programmes to increase race awareness that depend upon students' voluntary participation may be less effective in bringing students together than required classroom-based programmes and informal interaction through shared extra-curricular passions.

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Aftermath of the MOOC wars

Can commercial vendors support creative higher education?

Christopher Newfield

Abstract

The large-scale massive open online course (xMOOC) rose to prominence in 2012–13 on the promise that its outcomes would be better and cheaper than those of face-to-face university instruction. By late 2013, xMOOC educational claims had been largely discredited, though policy interest in ed-tech carried on. What can we learn about the future of ed-tech by analysing this eighteen-month period in higher education history? This article gathers different types of evidence to suggest several conclusions: MOOC momentum was propelled by an administrative failure to apply due diligence to xMOOC educational claims. The MOOC path was also smoothed by a confusion among key commentators between xMOOCs and small-scale ‘connectivity’ MOOCs that did show meaningful learning outcomes. At the same time, online courses do not overcome race-based disparities of outcome and in some cases make them worse. In addition, student use of online courses appears to be instrumental, even cynical, further limiting their educational value. MOOCs will be back in modified form to endanger educational equity and quality unless faculty members articulate explicit goals and standards for public higher education to which ed-tech can be held accountable.