Deconstructing Race/Reconstructing Difference: Beyond the U.S. Paradigm
Professor Jabari Mahiri, Professor of Education and the William and Mary Jane Brinton Family Chair in Urban Teaching, University of California, Berkeley
In this moment of a turn to identity politics in the United States, mitigating the detrimental impacts of ideologies and hierarchies predicated on the idea of race is ever more important. Although race is not a scientific fact, it is a social fact that operates through ascribed categories anchored in a white/black binary with other color-coded categories capriciously placed in between. These structured not only accentuate difference; they also sew division. Based on a conceptual framework of “micro-cultures” drawn from analyses of extensive, ethnographic interviews with people who are socially defined within each of the five main, ascribed racial categories in the U.S., this presentation argues for ways to move beyond the severe limitations of current narratives of race and difference. It further argues that the role of education is imperative in understanding the complexities and contradictions of how race and difference are enacted and also critical for challenging and progressively changing these social constructions in the U.S. and internationally.
Three of Dr. Mahiri’s recent books are Deconstructing Race: Multicultural Education Beyond the Color-Bind (2017) that received the PROSE Award for Education Theory – Honorable Mention; Digital Tools in Urban Schools: Mediating a Remix of Learning (2011), and Out of Bounds: When Scholarship Athletes Become Academic Scholars (2010). He also is editor of The First Year of Teaching: Classroom Research to Improve Student Learning (2014) with Sarah Freedman and What They Don’t Learn in School: Literacy in the Lives of Urban Youth (2004). Additionally, he published a children’s book entitled The Day They Stole the Letter J. In 2017, Dr. Mahiri was the guest editor of two special issues of Multicultural Education Review on the theme “Cyber-lives: Digital Media and Multicultural Education.”
Colony Ballroom, Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland, College Park, MD