Advances in Social Contexts of Education Interdisciplinary Scholarship Lecture: Changing Borders: Relocating Race, Ethnicity, and Class
Tuesday, April 30, 2:00-3:30 pm (Westin St. Francis, Second Level, Elizabethan C)
Presenter: Ray McDermott, Stanford University
Discussant: Mica Pollock, University of California, San Diego
Human groups are invariably defined by their borders. Whether families, neighborhoods, corporations, or states, all groups do elaborate work mixing fact, fear, and fancy while deciding just who they are by imagining who they are not. Racial/ethnic groupings are systematically arbitrary: they could be easily otherwise, but their borders are often strictly enforced and correspondingly volatile. Certainly, racial/ethnic borders figure large in struggles for equal access to educational success and socioeconomic resources. In late 20th-century, inquiries into how they operate—or are operated on—have shifted focus from the essential characteristics of the groups to the dynamics of power and privilege along the borders to which they must adapt. The focus has shifted from what the groups know, believe, or desire to the circumstances under which they must make their way.