Johnnella E. Butler, Editor

Overview

"Ethnic Studies . . . has drawn higher education, usually kicking and screaming, into the borderlands of scholarship, pedagogy, faculty collegiality, and institutional development," Johnnella E. Butler writes in her Introduction to this collection of lively and insightful essays. Some of the most prominent scholars in Ethnic Studies today explore varying approaches, multiple methodologies, and contrasting perspectives within the field. Essays trace the historical development of Ethnic Studies, its place in American universities and the curriculum, and new directions in contemporary scholarship. The legitimation of the field, the need for institutional support, and the changing relations between academic scholarship and community activism are also discussed.

The institutional structure of Ethnic Studies continues to be affected by national, regional, and local attitudes and events, and Ronald Takaki's essay explores the contested terrains of these culture wars. Manning Marable delves into theoretical aspects of writing about race and ethnicity, while John C. Walter surveys the influence of African American history on U.S. history textbooks. Elizabeth Cook-Lynn and Craig Howe explain why American Indian Studies does not fit into the Ethnic Studies model, and Lauro H. Flores traces the historical development of Chicano/a Studies, forged from the student and community activism of the late 1960s.

Ethnic Studies is simultaneously discipline-based and interdisciplinary, self-containing and overlapping. This volume captures that dichotomy as contributors raise questions that traditional disciplines ignore. Essays include Lane Ryo Hirabayashi and Marilyn Caballero Alquizola on the gulf between postmodernism and political and institutional realities; Rhett S. Jones on the evolution of Africana Studies; and Judith Newton on the trajectories of Ethnic Studies and Women's Studies and their relations with marginalized communities. Shirley Hune and Evelyn Hu-DeHart each make a case for the separation of Asian American Studies from Asian Studies, while Edna Acosta-Belén argues for a hemispheric approach to Latin American and U.S. Latino/a Studies. T. V. Reed rounds out the volume by offering through cultural studies bridges to the twenty-first century.

Johnnella E. Butler is Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Spellman College-Atlanta, GA; and former Professor of American-Ethnic Studies, University of Washington-Seattle.
 

Comments on the Book by Leading Scholars

"This is a comprehensive and useful analysis of the history, struggles, main currents, principles, and dilemmas of that recent pedagogical and political phenomena--known as 'multiculturalism. '...This volume will be a useful sourcebook for students, teachers, and researchers engaged in ethnic studies, but it also summarizes an indispensable chapter in late-20th-century US intellectual history for a general audience. Valuable for collections at all levels of education, US intellectual history, US politics, race and racialized relations, ethnic studies, Asian American studies, Latino studies, Native American studies, and African American studies."

—M.F. Jacobson, Yale University

"This is a timely text on the complexities surrounding the history, epistemology, and the institutionalization process of Ethnic Studies in American Institutions of higher learning."

—Herbert G. Ruffin II, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA

"illustrate[s] the formal intellectual and institutional barriers that prevent these arguments from becoming part of the national story in the United States."

—Carin Holroyd, Canadian Literature

"This useful compilation features generational scholarship on the discussion of ethnic studies in the academy...Butler asks if we are willing in academic institutions and as a nation to provide the space to study seriously and learn respectfully, in as complete a way as possible, U.S. history so that we can simultaneously build toward a just and equitable future."

—Anthony Edwards, University of South Carolina

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