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ERIC Number: ED355063
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Nov-5
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Sisyphus in Appalachia: Pluralism vs. Parochialism in a Newly Established State University.
Biddle, James R.
In the mid-1980s, a community college in a parochial Appalachian town became a state university. The new university was created at the behest of a powerful state politician despite the opposition of the faculty, administration, and board of the community college. A college of education was created and an interdisciplinary general education program containing strands of pluralistic multiculturalism was designed. Consultants from other universities, drawn by the opportunity of "creating a university from scratch," brought technical and academic expertise but little in the way of understanding or strategies for implementation into the area's culture. When the local culture, which values remembering its cultural system in order to reproduce it, was "invaded" by a culture that values reflecting on its systems in order to "improve" them, conflict was inevitable. From the perspective of those viewing the university as a pluralistic culture forced upon them, the curricular changes being proposed were clear cases of cultural imperialism. The dominant local culture saw democratic pluralism as yet another way for progressives to push larger societal goals over the values of smaller communities. In the end, few of the "outsiders" lasted 4 years, and the proposed changes were subverted by inaction. The study reflects on the need to clarify the reasons for having a multicultural curriculum before engaging in a parochialist-pluralist dialectic. (SV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A