Through the lens of education, this class will examine how systems of power and privilege pathologize difference and diversity and, alternatively, the approaches of resistance that enact liberating practices by engaging in a productive and affirmative power of difference. In order to analyze difference and diversity, the course operates from two standpoints. First, we’ll interrogate the narrative that education is simply either a site of neutrality or a tool working against repression. Second, we’ll look at how difference and diversity themselves are constructed. This means that social, cultural, historical, philosophical, economic, and political entanglements influence their development and enactment. As such, difference and diversity can also then be deconstructed and reconstructed. Additionally, as a Power, Privilege, and Diversity (PPD) course,2 we will pay particular attention to the ways in which education, broadly considered, both actively and passively participates in maintaining power, oppression, and privilege in the United States. I say “broadly considered” because education is not limited to traditional modes and formal environments of schooling—in fact, the narrative that formal schooling is the primary mode of education is one example of how difference is (re)produced. Our study of difference engages several overlapping themes: the production of subjectivity, the body, how power operates and is produced, and the role of stories and archives. We will begin by examining the theoretical and historical foundations that frame the contemporary production of difference in educational discourse and practice, including how they inform related power dynamics. We’ll explore how this particular production of difference creates boundaries of race, sex, and class in education and schooling. We’ll then turn from the continental United States towards the Pacific to see how these same productions of difference, diversity, privilege, and power are translated within the context of Hawai‘i. Throughout the course we’ll consider how archives themselves can perpetuate difference, often through the absence of those voices who have been historically underrepresented and marginalized.
Sojot, Amy, "EDUC 223A&B Deconstructing Difference Sojot Fall 2023" (2023). Course Syllabi. 43, Scholarly and Creative Work from DePauw University.