Memory, Metaphor, Place, and Story: (Un)Abstracting Social Imagination

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Objective: In the present climate of fearful reaction to "ethnic studies" and multicultural curriculum, a further polarization is taking place starting with the southern states. To further exacerbate the situation, in “multicultural education “often one form of essentialism is traded for another through abstraction and generalization that fails to challenge the invisible norm of whiteness. This paper gives salience to the value of stories of the lived experience of others that enabling us to see beyond external abstractions of humanity into the personal world of others.

Theoretical Framework: Critical theory.

Methods, Techniques, or Modes of Inquiry: Postcritical Ethnography.

Data Sources, Evidence, Objects, or Materials (or Theoretical Equivalent): Periodicals, textbooks, and personal communication.

Results and/or Substantiated Conclusions or Warrants: A critical analysis of the polarization of ethnic studies.

Scientific or Scholarly Significance of the Study or Work: This paper speaks to the current trends of abstraction and dehumanization in social studies curriculum and offers a way out of the pro/ con continuum through personal story.


American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting (AERA)


New Orleans, LA