Special Issue "Multiculturalism in Higher Education: Current Trends, Challenges, and Practices"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2023 | Viewed by 3174
Interests: migration and education; higher and international education; diversity; social justice; educational policies; international student mobility; multicultural learning
Interests: mobility; migration; social inequalities; intersectionality; gender; neoliberalization of higher education; international student mobility; post-colonial studies
Internationalisation of higher education (IoHE) has become a key element in the strategic agendas of many higher education institutions (HEIs) around the world. The process of becoming more international is coupled with the formation of an increasingly diverse and multicultural environment, by means of, for instance: increased student and staff mobilities, participation in international networks and research projects, and attraction of international students and faculty. As a result, multiculturalism has become the ”new normal” in many HEIs (Walter, 2018).
In this Special Issue, multiculturalism is understood in its relationship with broader internationalisation discourses, first in its demographic meaning, as ”the coexistence of a range of different cultural experiences” (Bolaffi 2003, 83) in the same space and temporality—in this case, in HEIs. Second, multiculturalism is also understood in its ”ideological–normative” and ”programmatic–political” meaning (Inglis, 1996). In line with Tiryakian (2003, 24), multiculturalism emerges here as ”a normative critique of the institutional arrangements of the public sphere that are seen as injuring or depriving a cultural minority of its rights”. Therefore, in this Special Issue, multiculturalism in HE is strongly connected to policies and institutional practices that break (or do not break) the cycle of inequality, with the potential to create spaces where diverse cultural groups can feel supported, valued, and included. It is important to recall that, quite often, multiculturalism fosters the idea of a “happy diversity”, losing sight of the complexity of social hierarchy dynamics (Ahmed, 2012).
In an increasingly neoliberal and marketized HE system, diversity and multiculturalism now comprise a ”holy mantra” (Puwar, 2004), which is indispensable from most institutions’ strategic plans and internationalisation reports. However, research on IoHE reveals that, in spite of the multicultural potential of internationalisation, HEIs have not been able to effectively develop multicultural environments where different groups can participate equally or have meaningful inter-cultural interactions, and where inequalities linked to diverse identity markers—such as religion, language, nationality, migration status, race, gender, and sexual orientation—are actively and continuously tackled. Quite often, different groups, together with their diverse cultures, expectations, and daily practices, are approached through a deficit lens, as though they need to adapt to the dynamics of the institutions, whilst the institutions themselves can remain exactly the same (Nada and Araújo, 2018). Moreover, internationalisation practices are often implemented without consistent monitoring to understand the extent to which they are achieving their expected goals (Morley et al., 2018). As noted by Ahmed (2012), diversity and multiculturalism have become new and unquestioned flags that many HEIs are carrying, without necessarily implementing any changes into their institutional fabric to actually promote more inclusive, diverse, and multicultural environments.
Whilst the research literature on IoHE has been growing significantly in the last two decades (De With and Altbach, 2021), the subsequent creation and expansion of multicultural environments in higher education has been less studied, along with its impact on different higher education (HE) actors and the institutions themselves.
In this context, this Special Issue welcomes reviews and empirical studies drawing on diverse methodologies focused on multiculturalism in HE. Research topics can include, but are not restricted to, the following:
- The impact of internationalisation on cultural diversity and the development of multicultural environments in HE.
- The impact of multiculturalism on daily life in HEIs, especially on teaching, learning, and research practices, as well as in institutional practices, such as recruitment and support programs.
- Research that questions widespread and reductive views of multiculturalism in HE—for instance, deficit views and tokenistic approaches to multiculturalism and diversity.
- Research on the experiences of historically under-represented groups in HE, including students and academic and non-academic staff with a migrant/minority background; research focused on other under-studied topics and populations.
- Research on HE policies and practices regarding the promotion of multicultural environments, preferably including the perspectives of HE practitioners who are actively engaged with these issues.
- Research questioning the theoretical basis and underlying logics of multiculturalism in HE, preferably through the use of critical approaches rooted in, for instance, intersectional, critical race, decolonial, post-colonial, and/or indigenous theories.
We look forward to receiving your contributions.
Dr. Cosmin Ionut Nada
Dr. Thais França
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- higher education
- critical perspectives