Book Review: Diversity, Social Justice, and Inclusive Excellence

by James Fortney, Instructional Developer, Reinert Center

Staff in the Reinert Center are continually researching and developing resources to support inclusive teaching and learning at Saint Louis University. You can access the current inclusive teaching resources available on our website by clicking here [LINK]. A goal of this ongoing work is to share resources that are applicable across all disciplines and teaching contexts. We also seek out resources that offer global perspectives on inclusive excellence in higher education to help “foster, support, and expand SLU’s global instructional activities” (Strategic Initiative Goals, 2018). Recently, I read an edited volume that advances both of these important goals for deepening our understanding and practice of inclusive teaching.

Diversity, Social Justice, and Inclusive Excellence: Transdisciplinary and Global Perspectives (Asumah & Nagel, 2014) is a collection of essays written by scholars and activists from around the world. The authors’ ideas will be most useful for instructors wanting to re-consider why and how concepts like “diversity” and “social justice” are discussed in the context of their teaching. For example, Christopher Latimer (2014) offers different global frames to help students analyze the same-sex marriage debate and Janet Duncan (2014) complements his discussion with a chapter on understanding disability rights in a global context. Other contributors tackle topics ranging from transnational feminism to immigration policy and the politics of exclusion. At the core of each essay is a consideration of why the topic is important and how to engage it effectively with students. Gale Young and Elizabeth Davis-Russell (2014) explicitly address the latter by offering a model for dealing with difficult classroom dialogue in any discipline or teaching context. Importantly, their model is not restricted to dialogues about diversity or social justice and can thus be useful to any instructor who uses discussion activities in their teaching or faces challenges when trying to include diverse student voices in a discussion.

If you are interested in reading this volume or specific chapters mentioned above, you can access an electronic version through SLU’s library by clicking here [LINK]. If you want to discuss diversity, social justice, or inclusive excellence in the context of your teaching, you can request a confidential consultation with someone in the Reinert Center by clicking here [LINK]. Please also share your thoughts on this topic with others in the comments section below.

 

References

Asumah, S. N. & Nagel, M. (2014). Diversity, social justice, and inclusive excellence: Transdisiplinary and global perspectives. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Duncan, J. M. (2014). Understanding disability rights in a global context. In S. N. Asumah & M. Nagel (Eds.), Diversity, social justice, and inclusive excellence: Transdisciplinary and global perspectives (pp. 363-377). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Latimer, C. P. (2014). Framing the same-sex marriage issue as equity. In S. N. Asumah & M. Nagel (Eds.), Diversity, social justice, and inclusive excellence (pp. 155-183). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Strategic Initiative Goals (2018, August 6). Retrieved from https://www.slu.edu/strategic-plan/initiative-goals.php

Young, G., & Davis-Russell, E. (2014). The vicissitudes of cultural competence: Dealing with difficult classroom dialogue. In S. N. Asumah & M. Nagel (Eds.), Diversity, social justice, and inclusive excellence (pp. 33-51). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

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