Campus Connection.

May 7, 2004 Volume 19, Number 18

Dealing With Difference Institute May 10-12 At Western


Western will host the 11th annual Dealing with Difference Institute (DWDI) Monday-Wednesday, May 10-12 in the University Union. Among the topics participants will explore are privilege, student-teacher differences in socio-economic status and race/ethnicity, the future of Affirmative Action, children’s literature and cultural diversity, “Middle Eastern” Americans, and achieving religious tolerance.

Professor Allan G. Johnson, author of “Privilege, Power, and Difference,” will open the institute with the presentation of “Unraveling the Knot of Privilege” at 11 a.m. Monday (May 10) in the Union Grand Ballroom. Following Johnson’s presentation, three panels will discuss these issues and provide multiple perspectives on how an individual’s identity and place in society help determine one’s experience and understanding of privilege. Panelists will talk about what privilege means for middle-class white men, for diverse women, and for gays and lesbians. A fourth panel of immigrants of color will share their understanding of privilege and “race” as it has affected them in their home countries and in the U.S.

Tuesday (May 11) morning, Dr. Bonnie M. Davis, founder of A4Achievement, will facilitate a three-hour interactive workshop on “Closing the Privilege Gap: Building a Classroom of Excellence for All Learners.” Tuesday afternoon, Bob Laird, whose forthcoming books include “Somewhere to Get to: Why Affirmative Action Matters in University Admissions” and “Under Pressure:  A Personal Report from the Center of the Affirmative Action Storm at UC Berkeley,” will discuss “The Precarious Existence of Affirmative Action: In the Courts and in the Classroom.”

Wednesday’s (May 12) presentations include Kenneth K. Ayouby on “The Middle East, ‘Middle Eastern’ Americans and America: Representation, Misrepresentation and the Quest for Self-Definition;” and Zaineb Istrabadi on “Diversity in Islam.” Ayouby, a lecturer in Arabic and education studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, is a founding member of the Society for Arab American Studies. Istrabadi, assistant to Professor Edward W. Said at Colombia University from 1986-2001, is currently on the faculty of the Near Eastern Languages and Culture Department at Indiana University; she is co-founder of the Muslim Peace Fellowship.

Other workshops and panels scheduled for the institute will include: a session based on the work of Ruby Payne titled “A Framework for Understanding Poverty,” led by Maria Dunstan, principal of Edison School in Macomb; a film screening and discussion of the Frontline documentary “Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero,” a panel on the importance of children’s literature, storytelling, and reading in transmitting and understanding cultures; a panel on religion and tolerance that will explore some of the similarities and differences in core beliefs of several major world religions; a session on the creation, maintenance, and value of a discussion group whose goals include in-depth intercultural dialogue with culturally diverse friends and associates; and a presentation by J.Q. Adams, educational and interdisciplinary studies, on successful strategies for bridging differences in socio-economic status in the classroom.

The DWDI will close Wednesday with a 12:15 p.m. talk and a concert during lunch WIU Provost and Academic Vice President Joseph Rallo will discuss ties between multicultural and international studies, and WIU faculty Camilo Gomides and Miguel Lema will provide music. Western faculty and staff participating as institute panelists include Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, Margarita Obregon, Shazia Rahman on “Global Perspectives on Race;” Sandra Nelson, Siyoung Park, Essie Rutledge on “Women and Privilege;” Martin Dupuis, Elizabeth Higgs, William McFarland on “Heterosexual Privilege from a Gay Perspective;” Amy Carr, Al Goldfarb, Bill Maakestad on “Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero;” Mohammad Siddiqi on “Achieving Religious Tolerance;” and Aisha Barnes and Nancy Chu on “Transmitting and Understanding Culture Through Children’s Literature.”

For further information about the institute or to register, contact Janice R. Welsch ( or Penny Corder ( ), telephone 309/298-1103.



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