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The Professional Geographer

2013 FOCUS Section on Diversity, Inclusion, and Participation in Geography

Introduction: Rethinking Practices for Enhancing Diversity in the Discipline

Patricia Solís  & Ines M. Miyares

Patterns of Racial Diversity and Segregation in the United States: 1990–2010

Richard Wright, Mark Ellis, Steven R. Holloway  & Sandy Wong

The growing ethnic and racial diversity of the United States is evident at all spatial scales. One of the striking features of this new mixture of peoples, however, is that this new diversity often occurs in tandem with racial concentration. This article surveys these new geographies from four points of view: the nation as a whole, states, large metropolitan areas, and neighborhoods. The analysis at each scale relies on a new taxonomy of racial composition that simultaneously appraises both diversity and the lack thereof (Holloway, Wright, and Ellis 2012). Urban analysis often posits neighborhood racial segregation and diversity as either endpoints on a continuum of racial dominance or mirror images of one another. We disturb that perspective and stress that segregation and diversity must be jointly understood—they are necessarily related, although not as inevitable binary opposites. Using census data from 1990, 2000, and 2010, the research points to how patterns of racial diversity and dominance interact across varying spatial scales. This investigation helps answer some basic questions about the changing geographies of racialized groups, setting the stage for the following articles that explore the relationship between geography and the participation of underrepresented groups in higher education.

The Landscape of Diversity in U.S. Higher Education Geography

Joy K. Adams, Patricia Solís & Jean McKendry

Patterns of racial, ethnic, and gender participation in higher education are diverse and vary spatially, yet they fail to fully reflect the changing demographic landscape of the United States. This article explores two key questions: (1) How does diversity within geography compare to diversity within U.S. higher education more broadly? (2) How does the participation of underrepresented minorities and women in geography programs differ across regions and settings? We conclude that departmental strategies and goals for enhancing diversity should be sensitive to institutional and geographic contexts that shape individual programs’ unique opportunities and constraints.

Undocumented Students’ Narratives of Liminal Citizenship: High Aspirations, Exclusion, and “In-Between” Identities

Rebecca Maria Torres  & Melissa Wicks-Asbun

This study illustrates how national immigration policy relegates undocumented immigrant children to spaces of liminal citizenship, which shape their aspirations for higher education. Recognizing the power of migrant narratives, and the importance of privileging youths’ voices through children's geographies, we present the narratives of undocumented high school students from several rural North Carolina communities. Despite various barriers facing undocumented students, most have high academic aspirations. Students construct new forms of citizenship, legitimating their claims to higher education access through their achievement. Their liminal status, however, contributes to the formation of conflicted, “in-between” identities.

Diverse Experiences in Diversity at the Geography Department Scale

Patricia Solís, Joy K. Adams, Leslie A. Duram, Susan Hume, Al Kuslikis, Victoria Lawson, Ines M. Miyares, David A. Padgett & Alexander Ramírez

Departments are critical intervention points for enhancing diversity in any academic discipline, yet their experiences related to diversity differ widely. This article explores how several geography departments that vary by region, setting, and institutional type have experienced and promoted diversity. We also explore geography at different types of institutions, particularly minority-serving institutions and land-grant colleges and universities. We conclude that plans for improving the recruitment and retention of diverse students and faculty should make explicit the connection between structural factors, such as institutional contexts, and the agency of geography departments as key actors.

Race and Diversity: What Have We Learned?

Jamie Winders & Richard Schein

This article briefly examines geographic scholarship on race and diversity to enumerate how such work can contribute to the Addressing Locally-tailored Information Infrastructure and Geoscience Needs for Enhancing Diversity (ALIGNED) project's goal of creating a more diverse discipline and more diverse departments. Our review presents two arguments. First, diversity, as an object of analysis and desired institutional characteristic, is dynamic, unstable, and, above all, historically and geographically contingent. Studies of diversity, and efforts to create it, must begin from this observation. Second, we argue for diverse methodological and epistemological approaches but ones that are linked through a shared commitment to examining race and racism, diversity and inequalities, simultaneously.

A Commentary on the Whitening of the Public University: The Context for Diversifying Geography

Audrey Kobayashi, Victoria Lawson & Rickie Sanders

This commentary raises a series of questions for geographical research in national, regional, and institutional contexts for diversifying geography. Decades of neoliberal political and economic reforms and the still-unfolding Great Recession are reshaping funding and assessment in geography. These developments could have unintended and spatially varied effects on efforts to diversify geography. We explore geographies of uneven access to public education that shape the class and race profile of student bodies, outlining research and practice agendas that arise from our cautionary tales about the contemporary context.

 

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. #0914645 (OEDG). Contact: Principal Investigator, Dr. Patricia Solís.

Contents

Overview

AAG Diversity Programs

People Making a Difference

MSI Resources

ALIGNED Research Articles

Diversity Clearinghouse

Other Featured Resources

 

"Compelling ... It moved us from a general sense of the situation to concrete data. Much more than data, it allows you to link potential actions with data."

"Participation in the  ALIGNED Program has been a critical component of our department’s success ... with diversity and inclusion issues."

"This perspective has tremendous potential as a tool for departments to enhance diversity recruitment and retention."

"It's been a great boon to my department, primarily because it got us to start talking about diversity and also take some steps forward."

QuestionsRead more findings from the ALIGNED Project.