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Exploring Diversity and Student Political Activism through Archival Research

  • Laurel Elder (a1) and Shelley Wallace (a1)

Abstract

In 2011, the American Political Science Association stated that integrating issues of diversity, inclusiveness, and equality into political science curriculum and pedagogy was crucial to the success of the discipline in the twenty-first century. Although consensus is forming about the need to teach diversity, the question of how to do this effectively remains open. This article describes an archives-based assignment in an introduction to American government course created by the authors of this article—a professor of political science and the college archivist—that includes greater understanding of diversity and engaged citizenship as learning objectives. For this assignment, students are immersed in archival material about their own college and tasked with analyzing the political actions of previous generations of students as the civil rights and women’s movements emerged, as the student population became more diverse, and as the campus reacted to national and local events relating to racial intolerance and injustice. By examining their college’s political past—both the conflicts that animated the community and the student-led efforts to make the campus more inclusive—current students engage with issues of diversity and political activism in a way that helps them better understand themselves and their role as citizens in a democratic nation.

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Copyright

References

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Note: All archival citations are from the Paul F. Cooper, Jr., Archives at Hartwick College.
APSA Task Force on Political Science in the 21st Century. 2011. Political Science in the 21st Century . Washington, DC: American Political Science Association.
Bauer, Kelly, and Clancy, Kelly. 2018. “Teaching Race and Social Justice at a Predominantly White Institution.” Journal of Political Science Education 14 (1): 7285.
Bauman, Dan. 2018. “Hate Crimes on Campuses Are Rising, New FBI Data Show.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 14.
Deruy, Emily. 2016. “The Complicated Process of Adding Diversity to the College Syllabus.” The Atlantic, July 29.
Jaschik, Scott. 2017. “Beverly Daniel Tatum Discusses New Version of ‘Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?’” Inside Higher Ed, September 6.
Junn, Jane. 2004. “Diversity, Immigration, and the Politics of Education.” PS: Political Science and Politics 37 (2): 253–55.
Mutnick, Deborah. 2018. “The Appeal of the Archives: Engaging Students in More Meaningful Research.” Available at TeachArchives.org.
Rasmussen, Amy Cabrera. 2014. “Toward an Intersectional Political Science Pedagogy.” Journal of Political Science Education 10: 102–16.
Tatum, Beverly Daniel. 2017. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? Anniversary Revised Edition. New York: Basic Books.
Yaco, Sania, Brown, Caroline, and Lee, Konrad. 2016. “Linking Special Collections to Classrooms: A Curriculum-to-Collection Crosswalk.” American Archivist 79 (2): 417–32 (Fall/Winter).
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Elder and Wallace supplementary material
Appendix A

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Exploring Diversity and Student Political Activism through Archival Research

  • Laurel Elder (a1) and Shelley Wallace (a1)

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