Bahá'í Chair for World Peace Annual Lecture 2018 with Professor Jabari Mahiri

Deconstructing Race/Reconstructing Difference: Beyond the U.S. Paradigm


Professor Jabari Mahiri, Professor of Education and the William and Mary Jane Brinton Family Chair in Urban Teaching, University of California, Berkeley

In this moment of a turn to identity politics in the United States, mitigating the detrimental impacts of ideologies and hierarchies predicated on the idea of race is ever more important. Although race is not a scientific fact, it is a social fact that operates through ascribed categories anchored in a white/black binary with other color-coded categories capriciously placed in between. These structured not only accentuate difference; they also sew division. Based on a conceptual framework of “micro-cultures” drawn from analyses of extensive, ethnographic interviews with people who are socially defined within each of the five main, ascribed racial categories in the U.S., this presentation argues for ways to move beyond the severe limitations of current narratives of race and difference. It further argues that the role of education is imperative in understanding the complexities and contradictions of how race and difference are enacted and also critical for challenging and progressively changing these social constructions in the U.S. and internationally.


About the Speaker: Jabari Mahiri is a Professor of Education and the William and Mary Jane Brinton Family Chair in Urban Teaching. He is Faculty Director of the Multicultural Urban Secondary English MA and Credential Program, Faculty Advisor and Principal Investigator of the Bay Area Writing Project, and a board member of the National Writing Project. He also was a board member of the American Educational Research Association from 2014 to 2017 and board chair of REALM middle and high schools in Berkeley, California from 2011 to 2017. Before coming to UC Berkeley, he taught English in Chicago Public Schools for seven years. Among his recognitions are the Chancellor’s Award for Enhancing Institutional Excellence and Inclusion as well as the Chancellor’s Award for Community Service.

Three of Dr. Mahiri’s recent books are Deconstructing Race: Multicultural Education Beyond the Color-Bind (2017) that received the PROSE Award for Education Theory – Honorable Mention; Digital Tools in Urban Schools: Mediating a Remix of Learning (2011), and Out of Bounds: When Scholarship Athletes Become Academic Scholars (2010). He also is editor of The First Year of Teaching: Classroom Research to Improve Student Learning (2014) with Sarah Freedman and What They Don’t Learn in School: Literacy in the Lives of Urban Youth (2004). Additionally, he published a children’s book entitled The Day They Stole the Letter J. In 2017, Dr. Mahiri was the guest editor of two special issues of Multicultural Education Review on the theme “Cyber-lives: Digital Media and Multicultural Education.”   

This event will be held in the Colony Ballroom, Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland, College Park 
You can RSVP for this free event using the form below 

Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 8:00pm

Colony Ballroom, Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 


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