Damani J. Partridge, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Afroamerican and African Studies, Featured in Public Culture
Drawing on insights and examples from scholars from around the world, this volume thinks through the effects of the transnational discourses and practices of “diversity” in local, nation-state-based, and global arenas. We begin with the Regents of University of California v. Bakke (1978) and Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) US Supreme Court decisions as a way of grounding our approach. In the introduction, the authors examine the extent to which these decisions ultimately led public universities in the United States to shift away from the original intent of affirmative action, which worked to redress historical inequality, and toward the concept of “diversity.” The authors scrutinize the consequences of this shift and how inclusion has come to be theorized through “diversity,” in the United States and transnationally, as an approach that systematically denies access to minoritized populations.
On October 16 and 17, 2017, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, we brought together scholars from around the world to collectively investigate the concept, history, and administration of the global discourse and practice of “diversity.” In particular, we were interested in how the US Supreme Court decisions in Regents of University of California v. Bakke and Grutter v. Bollinger had ultimately led public universities in the United States to shift away from the original intent of affirmative action, which worked to redress historical inequality, and toward the concept of “diversity.”1 We were struck by the ways that university-led diversity initiatives have shaped our everyday lives and by the extent to which we have been called to manage them.