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Transformative non-confrontational multicultural education: an implicitly emancipatory elementary school contemporary Native American artists program

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Title: Transformative non-confrontational multicultural education: an implicitly emancipatory elementary school contemporary Native American artists program
Author(s): Chin, Christina D.
Director of Research: Campbell, Laurel H.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Campbell, Laurel H.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Abelmann, Nancy A.; Duncum, Paul A.; Bresler, Liora
Department / Program: Art & Design
Discipline: Art Education
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): multicultural multiculturalism art education transformative multiculturalism social reconstruction case study elementary school hegemony globalization heterogeneity hybridity
Abstract: Much of current literature on multicultural art education condemns Human Relations oriented approaches for their propensity to essentialize the art of the groups they attempt to represent, and their implicit reinscription of a hegemonic imperialist discourse regarding non-Western arts. In place of Human Relations approaches, scholars of contemporary literature advocate the use of transformative and social reconstructionist approaches to multicultural education, both of which require engaging students in a confrontation of issues of conflict, such as racism, discrimination, and oppression, in order to promote students’ cognitive knowledge transformation towards more liberating perspectives. Existing literature does not show practicing art educators how such theories have been operationalized, particularly at the elementary school level. Moreover, it is questionable as to how practical these suggested transformative and social reconstructionist approaches are for the elementary school artroom environment. The study documented herein focuses on the case of one elementary school art teacher who has operationalized the knowledge transformation potential of multiculturalism through her creation and implementation of a uniquely designed Contemporary Native American Artists program. It implicitly works to promote students’ egalitarian perspectives and to challenge injustices in the status quo. While the knowledge transformation that scholars claim is promoted by transformative and social reconstructionist approaches may be desirable, this art teacher’s case reveals why the manner in which scholars suggested that this knowledge transformation be achieved—by engaging students in a confrontation of issues of conflict—may not be suitable, much less ideal, for an elementary school artroom scenario. Her case illustrates one potential strategy for attaining knowledge transformation in students’ understandings without incurring the risks associated with transformative and social reconstructionist approaches. Her approach to multiculturalism seems to fit into a space currently overlooked by the literature, and demonstrates an attractive series of strategic multicultural practices that are particularly well suited for the elementary school arena.
Issue Date: 2010-08-20
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/16732
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Christina Danielle Chin
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-08-20
Date Deposited: 2010-08
 

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