SEMINAR: Multiculturalism and Its Controversies
Multiculturalism has become a buzz word that is more often confusing than clarifying, obstructing than constructing dialogue. What is a multicultural society? Who constitutes the “multi” and what constitutes the “cultural” in multicultural? Is multiculturalism compatible with liberalism? If so, how and when? We will examine the meaning(s) of multiculturalism by distinguishing societal, political and theoretical dimensions; we will identify which groups are perceived as worthy of multicultural accommodation, we will examine the gender implications of particular multicultural accommodations, and we will discuss the pertinence of applying this term to racial divides. This is a challenging seminar tackling deep-seated assumptions about cultural divides as well as the dynamics that reinforce political and cultural differences. It also explores the possibilities for accommodating cultural differences and the conditions for creating a more inclusive society.
Note: This seminar will be limited to 25 students, selected by lottery on Wednesday, March 25. First meeting (April 7) is required, as is regular attendance. Do not apply unless you can make this commitment.
Mara Kolesas is a political theorist whose interests extend from the conceptualization of citizenship, democracy, and multiculturalism to issues of political subjectivity, social identity, and the thought of Hannah Arendt. She received her doctorate from the New School for Social Research in New York, and has taught in Argentina, Peru, the US, and Lebanon. Committed to bringing academic insights to practical uses and social endeavors, she has worked as a strategist, institutional analyst, and consultant for organizations such as the University of California and the United Nations.