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(GEND) Diversity Politics in Institutional Contexts: The Case of Higher Education


InstructorDr. Jennifer Chan
InstitutionFreie Universität Berlin
SemesterWiSe 19/20
Scope of Course
RoomGarystr.55 101 Seminarraum
StartOct 14, 2019 | 10:00 AM
endFeb 10, 2020 | 12:00 PM


In recent years, great importance has been placed on the efforts of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to successfully diversify both their faculty and student population. The creation of a climate of support for such diversification has become a central concern of HEIs, which have fostered this transition with a range of policy decisions and program implementations specifically aimed at (a) increasing the numbers of persons that represent diverse populations, and (b) improving the climate that would sustain this diverse population. Diversity is regarded not only as a powerful agent of change, but also an imperative for HEIs in order to guarantee their success and integration in a plural, interconnected global context. In this sense, diversity is considered a powerful facilitator of institutional mission and societal purpose. This course examines the politics related to establishing a diversity strategy in organisations, using the case of higher education institutions as an example. In this course, the students will get familiar with the literature on diversity in HEIs in order to identify what are the obstacles and opportunities that they pose for the advancement of inclusion policies. For this, we will analyse the particular tensions that mark the relation between diversity and education in the European context, also comparing with other cases of the Global North and Global South. We will critically engage with the term “Diversity” and see its possibilities and limitations. For this, we will revise different theories, definitions and ways to measure diversity as well as contemporary critique of the language of diversity and alternative theoretical contributions from critical race and postcolonial studies. The course places great importance on incorporating an intersectional perspective when trying to do inclusion work. Finally, we will engage in a hands-on exploration of how diversity strategies are created and implemented in the daily praxis through the analysis of concrete diversity strategies in the examples of different HEIs institutions in the national and international context.