Interrogating “Diversity”

pcl_31_2_coverThe newest issue of Public Culture, “Interrogating ‘Diversity,’” edited by Damani J. Partridge and Matthew Chin, is available now.

Since the 1970s, the global practice of diversity has sparked a number of inclusion initiatives, such as affirmative action in universities, implemented to redress historical inequality. Contributors to this special issue argue that, in recent years, these initiatives have shifted away from their original intent toward a concept of “diversity” in which inclusion systematically denies access to minoritized populations.

“At elite institutions and in high-paying jobs in various global contexts, diversity has come to mean a sprinkling of color or the contingent presence of the ‘disadvantaged’ in otherwise majoritarian ‘White’ or upper-class/high-caste institutions,” write the editors in their introduction.

“Our call to interrogate diversity has also led us to collectively think beyond, outside, and in spite of diversity,” the editors continue. “It is not that we are against inclusion, but we cannot justify forms of inclusion that necessarily (even systematically) limit access. This includes forms that do very little to create possibilities for those who have systematically faced barriers that deny entrance. Interrogating diversity cannot mean sustaining existing institutions as we already know them. This process must be engaged in an activist, collective, and participatory project of social transformation.”

Read the introduction, freely available, or browse the table of contents.

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