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Engaging with Diversity

Multidisciplinary Reflections on Plurality from Quebec

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Edited By Stéphan Gervais, Raffaele Iacovino and Mary-Anne Poutanen

Contributed by leading scholars of Quebec Studies, both emerging and established, the 30 essays of this comprehensive collection offer a multidisciplinary survey of the study of diversity in Quebec over space and time. The volume is organized around a variety of themes through which Quebec’s plural reality is expressed, including conceptual, historical and contemporary approaches, covering a wide range of social and economic cleavages, identity markers, political contestation and, broadly, the lived experiences of Quebecers negotiating difference over time. In an environment increasingly demarcated by conflicts around values and cultural and social practices, this collection hopes to contribute to broadening the spectrum of voices to the current debate, adding an inclusive reflection to a conversation that has only intensified over the last decade. Quebec as a pluri-national and multi-ethnic society has been and remains a great laboratory to study and to test public policies on ethnic diversity. It allows us to identify the tensions and to evaluate the balance between the majority and the minority; and between settler society and indigenous nations, in conceptualizing and finding a normative consensus around the configuration of collective rights. In short, the contributions in this volume seek to illustrate how pluralism has and continues to constitute the lifeblood of belonging in Quebec.

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Why Do Critical Ethnic Studies Matter? And Why They Should Matter to Sociology (Sirma Bilge)

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← 96 | 97 →

Why Do Critical Ethnic Studies Matter?

And Why They Should Matter to Sociology

Sirma BILGE

La critique des formes d’accumulation du savoir est au moins aussi importante que la critique de l’accumulation du capital. (Michel Foucault)

In the spring of 2010, the state of Arizona passed a bill banning the funding of all ethnic studies programs in public schools, with the explicit exemption of the teaching of the Holocaust.1 Its primary target was the Mexican American Studies (MAS) program of the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), where 63% of student population share a Mexican-American descent.2 The House Bill 2281, notoriously known as the anti-ethnic studies act, prohibited the use of a long list of books,3 many of them aiming to teach U.S. history and literature through the prism of a particular group of people: minorities. After the rejection of its appeal on December 2011, the TUSD was forced to dismantle its 13-year-old, highly popular and successful4 MAS program, which was found “guilty” ← 97 | 98 → of using forbidden books, in order to avoid a multi-million dollar penalty in state funding.

After a seven-year court battle, the Arizona ban has been declared unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court in late 2017, and it is not clear yet whether the state’s Attorney General’s Office, which defended education officials behind the ban, will appeal the ruling. The fact remains that the Arizona case is a harbinger of a number...

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