ERIC Number: ED383370
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Multiculturalism and Border Knowledge in Higher Education.
Rhoads, Robert A.
Although community colleges serve a culturally diverse student population, they, along with other institutions of higher education, have been slow to respond to that diversity. The implementation of a multicultural curriculum threatens the canonical knowledge upon which higher education is positioned. The canon elevates certain aspects of a society's culture over others and suppresses "border knowledge," or knowledge that resides outside of the cultural mainstream. Since border knowledge is most often embraced by those situated on society's margins of race, class, gender, age, and sexual orientation, multiculturalism can offer a response to the canon. Mainstream multiculturalism situates cultural diversity as subject matter to be learned and not as ways of thinking and doing that fundamentally challenge Euro-centrically-conceived institutions. Critical multiculturalism, however, combines the conditions of cultural diversity with the vision of a critical education practice drawing from feminism, postmodernism, and critical theory. Critical multiculturalism seeks to transform institutions from monolithic centers of power to democratic constellations in which organizational structures reflect diverse cultures and perspectives. For community colleges, embracing multiple forms of cultural knowledge, or border knowledge, is an important facet of meeting the challenge of serving a culturally diverse student clientele. (KP)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park. Center for the Study of Higher Education.; National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment, University Park, PA.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995). For related documents, see JC 950 291-296.