Speaking the Unpleasant

The Politics of (non)Engagement in the Multicultural Education Terrain

Edited by Rudolfo Chavez Chavez & James O'Donnell

Subjects: Critical Pedagogy
Series: SUNY series, The Social Context of Education
Paperback : 9780791437582, 338 pages, April 1998
Hardcover : 9780791437575, 338 pages, April 1998

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents



Christine E. Sleeter

Foreword: Tongue-Tying Multiculturalism

Donaldo Macedo

Introduction: Speaking the Unpleasant

1. Engaging the Multicultural Education Terrain: A Holographic Montage for Engagers

Rodolfo Chávez Chávez

2.   From Claiming Hegemony to Sharing Space: Creating Community in Multicultural Courses

Sonia Nieto

3.   Mediating Curriculum: Problems of Nonengagement and Practices of Engagement

Beverly Cross

4.   Engaging Students' Re-Cognition of Racial Identity

James O'Donnell

5.   Toward a Just Society: Recalibrating Multicultural Teachers

Lynne T. Díaz-Rico

6.   Fostering Engagement: Barriers in Teacher Education

Gaile S. Cannella

7.   Confessions of a Methods Fetishist: Or, the Cultural Politics of Reflective Nonengagement

Mark Dressman

8.   Upstream in the Mainstream: Pedagogy against the Current

Robert E. Bahruth and Stanley F. Steiner

9.   Engaging Special Education Practitioners with Language and Culture: Pitfalls and Challenges

Jozi De León, Catherine Median , and Robert Ortiz

10. Exploring the Use of History in Multicultural/Multilingual Teacher Education

Kip Téllez and Sharon O'Malley

11. The Struggle for Cultural Self: "From Numb to Dumb"

Susan M. Rumann

12. Challenging Privilege: White Male Middle-Class Opposition in the Multicultural Education Terrain

Robert Smith

13. Moving Off Center: Engaging White Education Students in Multicultural Field Experiences

Carolyn R. O'Grady

14. Identity and Engagement in Multicultural Education

Betsy J. Cahill and Eve M. Adams

15. Lowering the Shields: Reducing Defensiveness in Multicultural Education

Diane J. Goodman

16. (E)strange(d) Relations: Psychological Concepts in Multicultural Education

Nancy Lesko

17. Teaching Within/Against the Backlash: A Group Dialogue about Power and Pedagogy in the 1990s

Gary L. Anderson, Mary Bentley, Bernardo Gallegos , Kathryn Herr , and Elizabeth Saavedra


About the Contributors



Discusses the issue of engagement, and nonengagement, of students in multicultural education programs.

At New Mexico State University Rudolfo Chavez Chavez is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and James O'Donnell is Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction. Chavez Chavez has also written Multicultural Education in the Everyday: A Renaissance for the Recommitted, and coedited The Leaning Ivory Tower: Latino Professors in American Universities (also published by SUNY Press) and Ethnolinguistic Issues in Education. O'Donnell has coedited Learning and Unlearning Racism: Multicultural Education Revisited.


"This volume creates a multicultural education dialog by and for teachers. The chapters address personal and institutional reflections that continuously probe into pre-and inservice students' tacit knowledge and mystified historicity that ideologically shape their understandings of culture, ethnicity, race, class, gender and sexual orientation, as well as other socially constructed and hegemonically ridden realities like oppression and the 'isms. '" -- From the Introduction by Rudolfo Chavez Chavez and James O'Donnell

"As a teacher and a scholar, I found Speaking the Unpleasant to be highly engaging because it addresses tensions, frustrations, and bursts of success that are all inherent in my own work. Readers will find this volume extremely helpful for its naming of the problem of (non)engagement, its discussions of how (non)engagement manifests itself in various educational contexts and why, and the varied strategies colleagues use to attempt to engage students, preservice teachers, and inservice teachers with social issues. " -- From the Preface by Christine E. Sleeter

"Speaking the Unpleasant courageously addresses an issue that is absolutely central to the struggle for a critical multiculturalism, yet one that has been largely ignored by critical educators. The reason why so many students and teachers refuse to acknowledge and resist relations of exploitation should be of fundamental concern to all criticalists in the field of education. The editors of the volume have greatly advanced our understanding of this issue and as a result have advanced the cause of critical multiculturalism in new and important ways. This is a volume that needs to be read. " -- Peter L. McLaren, University of California, Los Angeles