Theories of Cultural Diversity


Fall 2006 Syllabus

Spring 2004 Syllabus: Race into Culture
(Highlighted because the impact of that teaching experiement on the present iteration has been significant)

sketches are by Rini Templeton

Course Description

In this seminar, we will investigate the concept of “culture” as it is inflected by such other markers of identity as ethnicity, gender and especially race. Our focus will be on the discursive production of identity; we will examine how arguments about culture and race are made and deployed in several genres of writing--law, social science, natural science, fiction, essays. We will be less concerned with the reification of cultures or the biogenetic existence of “race,” but with a related question: For what purposes would one wish to deploy a theory of stable racial or cultural difference? We will aim to finish the semester with a better understanding of “culture” and “diversity” once we have explored:

. The many mutations of "culture" and the changes its definition has undergone;

. The rhetorical appeal to "race" as an authority for legal and social policy;

. The conflation of "race" and cultural and/or biological identity.

Class Resources/Readings

First, a very useful site (put together by Hervé Varenne of Teacher's College, Columbia University) that gives you many & varied definitions of "culture"; I'd suggest browsing these several times during the course of the class. Now, for assigned readings --

NOTE: You'll need the Adobe Acrobat Reader for some of these; others are Word documents

Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit of Louisiana, Jane Doe v. State of Louisiana.

Comaroff, Jean. 2004. “The end of History, again? Pursuing the past in the postcolony.” IDOGA Annual Distinguished Lecture on Africa, Gent (Belgium), March 29, 2004. Forthcoming in S. Kaul, A. Loomba, M. Bunzl, A. Burton, J. Esty [eds.], Postcolonial Studies and Beyond . Durham: Duke University Press.

Duster, Troy. 2003. “Buried Alive: The Concept of Race in Science,” in Alan H. Goodman, Deborah Heath, and M. Susan Lindee, eds., Genetic Nature / Culture: Anthropology and Science Beyond the Two-Culture Divide, Berkeley and London: University of California Press, pp.258-277.

Ignatieff, Michael. 1998. “Identity Parades” in Prospect (April, Issue 29).

Okin, Susan Moller. 2002. “Multiculturalism and Feminism: no simple question, no simple answers.” Unpublished ms.

Reddy, Deepa S. “The Ethnicity of Caste” in Anthropological Quarterly 78/2 (Forthcoming, Summer 2005).

Tomlinson, John. 2003. "Globalization and Cultural Identity" (NOTE: of interest, but not assigned reading!)

Not assigned reading, but this site & it's pamphlets are worth a look: Prickly Paradigm Press