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Session B4

6th Annual CNM Conference on Teaching and Learning

Teaching Diversity Critically: Going Beyond Nation States 

Rinita Mazumdar  (CHSS, CNM)

Sandia III, 1:00-2:15

In this presentation, I will talk about how the notion of diversity that is taught in most classrooms in and around the country is bounded and restricted within the borders of the nation. This gives students only a partial understanding of power, identity, and oppression surrounding issues of justice and social change. In this presentation, I will show how the concept of “whiteness” and the power surrounding it is different in many nations across the world. I will also talk about how racism works in a different way in Asia and how non-monolith the “other” groups who migrate to the United States are. For example, “brown”, “white” or “black” or people of different faiths, such as Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims come to the United State carrying with them a history of conflicts (often violent) amongst themselves. When the oppressor, perpetrators, and victims are all put together in one group, this creates more alienation for the “other” and the hope of building cross-cultural communities to challenge power withers away.

Intended outcomes: This way of looking at “diversity” in all its complexities will give students tools to think critically of the “other”. It will also help students to see how the notions of “oppressor” and “oppressed” change with location and history and that “diversity” is a complex word, for “diversity” carries within it more diversities. This is a new way of looking at and teaching “diversity” that will help students to identify power and oppression and foster and help build cross-cultural communities of resistances for social justice. 

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