2013 Dealing with Difference Institute
Confirmed Keynote Speakers
Dr. James A Banks
Dr. Paul Gorksi
Dr. Barbra Ransby
Dr. Ann Russo
Dr. James A. Banks
Distinguished Professor James A. Banks, Founding Director of the Center for Multicultural Education, at the University of Washington,Seattle,will make the keynote presentation during the 2013 Dealing with Difference Institute at Western Illinois University. Dr. Banks will discuss “Diversity in America: Challenges and Opportunities for Educating Citizens in Global Times.” He has chosen this topic because he sees the future of multicultural education in the United States linked with global citizenship and globalization and with diversity issues in nations around the world. As he has stated in Cultural Diversity and Education (5th Ed), “To become effective citizens within their nation and the world, students need clarified and reflective cultural, national and global identities, democratic attitudes and values, and the knowledge required to function effectively within their own and other cultural groups within national and global contexts” (p. 34).
Dr. Banks has written groundbreaking texts in multicultural education, including Teaching Strategies for Ethnic Studies, now in its 8th edition; Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives, now in its 7th edition; Multicultural Education, Transformative Knowledge, and Action; and Diversity and Citizenship Education: Global Perspectives. Among his critically recognized edited works are the Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education, and the four-volume Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education published in 2012. For the past 15 years, he has been Editor of the Multicultural Education Series published by Teachers College Press and has seen over 40 books published as part of the project.
A former elementary school teacher, Dr. Banks earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Chicago State University before earning master and doctoral degrees from Michigan State University. Since then, he has received six honorary doctorates and been recognized by colleagues, colleges and universities, and professional organizations with numerous awards and fellowships, including Distinguished Career, Research Review, and Social Justice in Education awards from the American Educational Research Association, fellowships from the Kellogg and Rockefeller Foundations, and a Spencer Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. His research has had an impact on multicultural education not only in the United States but in over 20 nations across the world.
Dr. Banks will be speaking on the second day of the institute, Wednesday, May 15, at 8:30 a.m. in Western’s Multicultural Center.
Dr. Paul Gorski
Dr. Paul Gorski, Associate Professor of Integrative Studies in the New Century College at George Mason University, teaches courses that revolve around issues of class and poverty, educational equity, social justice, diversity in higher education, and identity, politics, and schooling. These issues are central to the Social Justice undergraduate program and minor he has developed within his department and are reflected in his writing and conference presentations. His co-edited anthology, Cultivating Social Justice Teachers, was published earlier this year. His articles include “The Myth of the Culture of Poverty,” “The Scholarship Informing the Practice: Multicultural Teacher Education Philosophy and Practice in the United States,” and “Intercultural Education as Social Justice.” The High Price of Poverty: Class and Schooling in the U.S. is in process.
Dr. Gorski created and maintains the award-winning website, Multicultural Pavilion, and founded EdChange, a coalition of educators and activists who have developed free, web-accessible resources to further the understanding and practice of social justice and equity. This interest in the internet is reflected in Multicultural Education and the Internet: Intersections and Integrations, now in its second edition. His “professional and spiritual passions lie in building movements and engaging in processes for creating equitable and just organizations, schools, and communities.”
In a combination DWDI presentation/workshop scheduled from 10:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14, Professor Gorski will focus on “Creating an Equitable Learning and Working Environment: An Equity Literacy Approach.” He describes equity literacy as “an approach to thinking about diversity that includes four components: (1) the ability to recognize inequity, (2) the ability to respond to inequity, (3) the ability to redress inequity, and (4) the ability to create and sustain an equitable working and learning environment.” These abilities require practitioners to move beyond celebrations of diversity and cultural competence to social justice and equity. After discussing the components of equity literacy, Dr. Gorski and participants will discuss its personal and professional relevance for themselves.
Dr. Barbra Ransby
Dr. Barbara Ransby is an historian, writer and longtime activist. She is a Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she directs both the campus-wide Social Justice Initiative and the Gender and Women’s Studies Program. She previously served as Interim Vice-Provost for Planning and Programs (2011-2012) at UIC. Professor Ransby is the author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision, for which she received eight national awards and recognitions including co-winner of the Liberty-Legacy Award from the Organization of American Historians, the Joan Kelley Prize for best book in women’s history from the American Historical Association, the Gustavas Meyers Prize for a book on human rights, the Lillian Smith Book Award for outstanding “literary merit, moral vision, and honest representation of the South,” and a book award from the Association of Black Women Historians. Dr. Ransby brings to the fore another exceptional African American woman in her most recent book, Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson, published by Yale University Press in December 2012.
Professor Ransby has published in scholarly anthologies and journals such as Manning Marable’s Dispatches from the Ebony Tower: Intellectuals Confront the African-American Experience and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society as well as in popular newspapers and magazines, among them The Miami Herald, the Detroit Free Press, In These Times and The Progressive. As an activist she initiated the African American Women in Defense of Ourselves campaign in 1991, co-convened The Black Radical Congress in 1998, and founded Ella’s Daughters, a network of women working in Ella Baker’s tradition. She serves on several editorial boards, including the Scholar’s Advisory Committee of Ms. Magazine, and in the summer of 2012 she became the second Editor in Chief of SOULS, A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society.
Drawing from her work as an historian and writer, Dr. Ransby will discuss "Many Ways of Knowing: Alternative Archives, Insurgent Epistemologies, and Black Women's Lives" in her DWDI presentation on Tuesday, May 14. She will “talk about [her] work on lesser known black women historical actors and how [she approaches] the work of biography to cover the same ground that others have but through a different lens,” that of an African American woman, activist, and scholar. She will also participate in the panel discussion on community responsibility and education Wednesday afternoon, May 14.
Dr. Ann Russo
Dr. Ann Russo chairs the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at DePaul University in Chicago. The department “examines women’s and men’s identities and experiences through the constructs of gender, race, class, sexuality, age, ability, culture, religion, [and] nation …within broader historical, social and global contexts, such as colonialism and globalization." The department works to “relate real life issues to theoretical feminist concepts and abstract ideals.” This is evident in the courses Professor Russo teaches, which include Feminist Framesworks, Women and Violence, Antiracist Feminisms, Contemporary Feminist Sex Debates, and Women, Gender, Agency, and Change. As an activist as well as a scholar, she is interested in coalition, solidarity, and alliance building, interests she will explore in her DWDI presentation, “Cultivating Accountability: Building Community and Solidarity across Power Lines” on Tuesday afternoon, May 14.
Drawing upon antiracist and transnational feminisms, Dr. Russo will share some of the innovative strategies scholars, educators, and activists are using to build relationships and solidarity across systemic inequities. Shifting from strategies that create unity through the inclusion of differences, this approach builds solidarity through a praxis of accountability. It encourages us to understand our complicity and participation in systems of oppression and privilege, and to build coalitional consciousness and action from within that recognition. Ultimately, solidarity is created through shared political and ethical frameworks with underlying values of mutuality, reciprocity, and interconnectedness.
Dr. Russo is the author of Taking Back Our Lives: A Call to Action in the Feminist Movement (2001), and co-editor of Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism (1990) as well as Talking Back, Acting Out (2002). She has published essays in the International Feminist Journal of Politics, Violence Against Women, and Sojourner, as well as in anthologies, including The Intersectional Approach: Transforming the Academy Through Race, Class, & Gender and Confronting Same-Sex Domestic Violence. She is currently working on a book about cultivating feminist practices of accountability as a method of building multiracial and transnational feminisms. She is active in a variety of local organizations committed to community accountability and transformative justice.