Diversity Reconsidered: Teaching U.S. Heterogeneity in a Border State

By Sibylle Gruber and Nancy Barron.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this paper, we address the need to reevaluate teachers' and students’ cultural, political, religious, and educational goals in an academic setting. We use our experiences as teachers of American college students in a U.S. border state to show that students’ acceptance of diverse opinions and diverse class, race, and gender backgrounds has diminished with the increasingly hegemonic political climate in the state and across the country. We show that although the state’s population includes the largest number of Native Americans and a significant number of Latinos, our classrooms reflect social and geographic segregation that is heightened with negative public discourse on Native American depravity and undocumented Mexican immigration. We show that, to counter a politically conservative swing, and to counter public opposition to teaching heterogeneity, we need to be explicit as well as passionate about the choices we make and the methods we use when promoting culturally diverse approaches to academic literacy.

Keywords: Academic Literacy, U.S. Faculty, Native Americans, Latinos, Mexican Immigrants, Segregation and Racism, Hegemonic Backlash

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.195-208. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 594.278KB).

Dr. Sibylle Gruber

Associate Professor, Literacy, Technology, and Professional Writing, Flagstaff, AZ, USA

Sibylle Gruber is an Associate Professor in Literacy, Technology, and Professional Writing at Northern Arizona University. She directs the University Writing Program and works with 40 graduate assistants, several instructors, and many undergraduate students. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy studies, rhetoric and cultures, computers and composition. Her book-length projects include Technologies and Literacies: Histories, Experiences, and Practices, Weaving a Virtual Web: Practical Approaches to New Information Technologies, Alternative Rhetorics: Challenges to the Rhetorical Tradition (with Laura Gray-Rosendale), and Social Change in Diverse Teaching Contexts: Touchy Subjects and Routine Practices (with Nancy G. Barron and Nancy Grimm). Gruber's work on cybertheories, feminist rhetorics, composition, and cultural studies can be found in various journals and edited collections.

Dr. Nancy Barron

Associate Professor, Literacy, Technology, and Professional Writing, Flagstaff, AZ, USA

Nancy G. Barron is Associate Professor at Northern Arizona University. She directs a disciplinary writing-across-the-curriculum course for on-campus and distance-learning students. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy, diversity, and multimedia. She is the co-editor of Social Change in Diverse Teaching Contexts: Touchy Subjects and Routine Practices (with Nancy M. Grimm and Sibylle Gruber). Her articles on identity politics can be found in various journals.

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