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ERIC Number: ED512968
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 348
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1092-3940-9
Balancing the Values of Ethnic Studies and Academe: Exploring Efforts to Advance the Organizational Stability of American Indian and Asian American Studies
Kimura-Walsh, Erin Fukiko
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
This study examines Ethnic Studies' efforts to gain institutional stability at the university. The issue is explored through a qualitative, multi-case study of Ethnic Studies units, specifically American Indian and Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University and University of California, Los Angeles. To gain insight into their functioning, interviews were conducted with faculty, students, and staff affiliated with these academic units. The study is grounded in two frameworks: racial formation theory illuminates the development of Ethnic Studies as a social movement and the campus racial climate framework underscores the specific racial dynamics that influence Ethnic Studies' standing in academe. This study's findings reveal the challenges Ethnic Studies faces in achieving success given its marginal position in higher education. Organizational stability, especially in the form of degree programs and department status, can counter elements of Ethnic Studies' marginalization, although it is unable to address its root causes, in particular, institutional racism. But with stability comes pressure for Ethnic Studies to de-emphasize its core goals and align itself with institutional values. For example, gaining a sizable and stable faculty advances institutional permanence, but the hiring and promotion processes may force Ethnic Studies to prioritize theoretical research and publishing over teaching and community-based practices. This study's findings ultimately reveal, however, that some members of Ethnic Studies units have found activities that simultaneously gain the field institutional recognition and promote its core values. Based on this result, I propose that Ethnic Studies has greater agency in determining its future; that is, in order to uphold its commitment to egalitarianism, pragmatism, community, and interdisciplinarity, Ethnic Studies units themselves must determine the degree to which they accommodate hegemonic institutional values. I suggest that Ethnic Studies can achieve both self-determination and institutional success by advocating strategically for broader notions of scholarship; by including student, staff, and community voices in academic planning; by strengthening the social-good model of higher education; and by gathering institutional support for parity among Ethnic Studies' component fields. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California