Ethnic Studies and Multiculturalism

By Thomas J. La Belle & Christopher R. Ward

Subjects: Higher Education
Series: SUNY series, Frontiers in Education
Paperback : 9780791429846, 168 pages, July 1996
Hardcover : 9780791429839, 168 pages, July 1996

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Table of contents


Part I. Historical and Conceptual Backdrop

1. Ethnicity, Multiculturalism, and Higher Education in the United States Prior to 1960

2. Segmentation and Intergroup Relations through Education

Part II. Multiculturalism and Ethnic Studies: A Contemporary View

3. The Rise of Multiculturalism

4. The Emergence and Status of Contemporary Ethnic Studies Programs in the United States

Part III. The Context and Strategies for Addressing Diversity

5. Ethnic Studies, Multiculturalism, and the Social and Political Context: A Mirror to Society's Intergroup Relations

6. Alernatives to Multicultural and Ethnic Studies: Strategies for Institutional Change



Provides an overview of ethnicity and intergroup relations, profiles the development of multiculturalism and ethnic studies, and analyzes the issues related to diversity in higher education as they relate to ethnic studies and multicultural efforts.


La Belle and Ward address a major question confronting American higher education--How do colleges and universities best prepare students for common citizenship in a diverse, democratic state while also nurturing their groups' cultures, values, and institutional participation?

The authors clarify current debates about diversity and the content of curriculum, what one commentator calls the "culture wars. " The book includes an overview of ethnicity, intergroup relations, and related concepts; the history and development of multiculturalism and ethnic studies in higher education in the United States; and an analysis of the issues related to diversity in higher education, particularly as they relate to tensions between ethnic studies and multicultural efforts.

The authors share their vision of how higher education might be made more open to ethnic and other groups, while broadening the learning about diversity for all students. They emphasize the role that institutional and student cultures, including extra-curricular organizations and activities, play in achieving these goals.

Thomas J. La Belle is Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research at West Virginia University. At the University of Pittsburgh, Christopher R. Ward is Administrative Officer for Generations Together, an Intergenerational Studies Program in the University Center for Social and Urban Research, and an adjunct faculty member teaching Educational Anthropology. La Belle and Ward are authors of Multiculturalism and Education, also published by SUNY Press.


"The book is useful because it provides a context for looking at multiculturalism and ethnic studies in higher education. One of the broadest discussions currently available, the book places the topic in an appropriate and useful historical and institutional context. It is highly relevant to current debates about ethnic studies--a debate that is likely to continue for a long time. " --G. Altbach, Boston College

"The topic is very important and the book uses a combination of historical and current social science analysis to explore the development of multicultural and ethnic studies in higher education. The authors are even-handed and present a wide range of opinions and approaches. " -- William B. Stanley, University of Delaware