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ERIC Number: ED552850
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 167
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3030-2396-5
What's the Use of Race? Investigating the Concept of Race in Higher Education
Johnston, Marc Phillip
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
What's the use of race and does race matter? These two questions serve as the foundation for this dissertation comprised of three studies examining: (1) how scholars "use" race in their research and how their decisions matter for the way race is interpreted; (2) how students make meaning of race (as a social construct) during a time when genetic technologies are increasingly being "used" to identify one's racial ancestry; and (3) how "useful" race seems to college students and their sense of identity. Specifically, Study 1 examines race in higher education scholarship through a systematic review of three peer-reviewed journals over five recent years. Content analysis of 261 race-related research articles on college students reveals multiple racial applications within authors' framing, operationalizating, and interpreting of race, as well as inconsistencies that may send implicit and explicit messages reinforcing the essentialist nature of race. Study 2 explores meaning making of race among traditionally-aged college students (n=39) in a purportedly "post-racial" and "post-genomic" (i.e., post-Human Genome Project) era. Constructivist grounded theory methods allowed for an emergent understanding of how students' experiencing of and learning about race contribute to their meanings, which serve as lenses in which to see race mattering on multiple levels and within various contexts. Study 3 examines the constructs of "race," "ethnicity," and "culture" and their relative importance within the identities of Asian American college students. Exploratory qualitative interviews with a sample (n=52) of Asian American college students across two institutions with varying demographic profiles allowed for the development of a Multidimensional Model of Asian American Identity (M[superscript 2]A[superscript 2]I) that outlines how race and ethnicity may function differently as Asian American students encounter contexts that force them to answer various identity-based questions. Overall, findings from the three studies offer implications for improving race-related research and student services in higher education. Specifically, recommendations are made for reducing racial essentialism and for better aligning research and practice with students' ideas about race and identity within changing sociopolitical contexts. [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