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Integrating Diversity Across the Curriculum: Lessons from Teaching Gender & Race in the American Presidency
Unformatted Document Text:  presumably do not specifically deal with diversity as content (such as courses on the presidency, or introductory courses in American politics)—and, when they do, it is often framed in terms that seek to ‘add’ diversity at the level of an individual course (adding a unit on gender in courses on international relations theory or globalization, for example) (but see Paden 2008). Yet, as political scientists we are perhaps better equipped to view diversity as a category of analysis—or as a process—rather than as a category of identity per se. I have in mind something similar to Karen Beckwith’s (2005) notion of gender as a process. Following Karen Beckwith’s (2005) re-conceptualization of gender, I’d like to suggest that diversity is not only a category of identity. Diversity can also be conceptualized as an approach, a skill, a way of knowing, a process that both constructs and is constructed by the subjects of our discipline. Integrating diversity across the curriculum, in this way of thinking, requires us to better understand diversity as it is limited, shaped, and created through institutional and political processes that cut across our discipline and the institutions in which we teach and learn. This is not to say that advocates of diversity have not recognized its varied dimensions; the AACAmerican Association of Colleges &U niversities , for example, notes three dimensions to the education and scholarship of diversity: 1) the curriculum: what we teach; 2) pedagogy— how we teach it; and, 3) scholarly inquiry—what we value. The AAC&U’s concept of “diversity knowledge” similarly suggests that diversity is not simply about diverse groups, but about the relationship between diverse groups and disciplinary knowledge. To be sure, “social identities and affinities emerge as significant, in part, because of the asymmetrical cultural and historical contexts in which they have been placed,” (Smith, et. al., 1997, 8). Nor I am suggesting that we abandon diversity as identity; the course enrollment data presented in this paper provides further empirical justification for a normative emphasis on identity, particularly in relation to the forces 19

Authors: Mathews-Gardner, Lanethea.
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presumably do not specifically deal with diversity as content (such as courses on the presidency,
or introductory courses in American politics)—and, when they do, it is often framed in terms that
seek to ‘add’ diversity at the level of an individual course (adding a unit on gender in courses on
international relations theory or globalization, for example) (but see Paden 2008).
Yet, as political scientists we are perhaps better equipped to view diversity as a category
of analysis—or as a process—rather than as a category of identity per se. I have in mind
something similar to Karen Beckwith’s (2005) notion of gender as a process.
Following
Karen
Beckwith’s
(2005)
re-conceptualization of gender, I’d like to suggest that diversity is not only a
category of identity. Diversity can also be conceptualized as an approach, a skill, a way of
knowing, a process that both constructs and is constructed by the subjects of our discipline.
Integrating diversity across the curriculum, in this way of thinking, requires us to better
understand diversity as it is limited, shaped, and created through institutional and political
processes that cut across our discipline and the institutions in which we teach and learn.
This is not to say that advocates of diversity have not recognized its varied dimensions;
the
AACAmerican Association of Colleges
&U
niversities
, for example, notes three dimensions
to the education and scholarship of diversity: 1) the curriculum: what we teach; 2) pedagogy—
how we teach it; and, 3) scholarly inquiry—what we value. The AAC&U’s concept of “diversity
knowledge” similarly suggests that diversity is not simply about diverse groups, but about the
relationship between diverse groups and disciplinary knowledge. To be sure, “social identities
and affinities emerge as significant, in part, because of the asymmetrical cultural and historical
contexts in which they have been placed,” (Smith, et. al., 1997, 8). Nor I am suggesting that we
abandon diversity as identity; the course enrollment data presented in this paper provides further
empirical justification for a normative emphasis on identity, particularly in relation to the forces
19


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