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ERIC Number: EJ859299
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 34
ISSN: ISSN-1740-2743
Is Race Really Controversial in the University Classroom?
Philion, Stephen
Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, v7 n1 p300-319 Jun 2009
Today, even though "social justice" programs exist as a virtual growth industry on US campuses and many universities have incorporated classes on race and racism into their curricula, everyone continues to be faced with the perception that race is a "controversial" topic that has to be broached with care due to its "sensitive nature". This is even more so in a day and age of nervousness about political discourse becoming "uncivil". In this article, the author opens up the following questions: (1) How can everyone account for the perception that, in the university classroom, racism is perceived as uniquely controversial?; (2) Why are race and racism promoted as uniquely "controversial" topics on American campuses?; (3) How has this belief been shaped by and used ideologically to reproduce the accommodation of American higher education to the political economy of neo-liberalism?; and (4) What alternatives to this ideological orientation in the university classroom exist that more effectively address the basis of racial inequality as a historically shaped social phenomenon in American capitalism? Here, the author argues that the nervousness about race as a topic in the US classroom is best explained with reference to the dynamics of capitalist political economy as a historically shaped social process, of which the generation of class inequality is but one important constant. (Contains 13 footnotes.)
Institute for Education Policy Studies. University of Northampton, School of Education, Boughton Green Road, Northampton, NN2 7AL, UK. Tel: +44-1273-270943; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A