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Internationally recognized scholar
Dr. Ronald Takaki to address faculty
Arkansas State University's Office of
Academic Affairs and Research will host ASU's annual Fall Faculty
Conference on Wednesday, Aug. 15. The conference will take place in
Centennial Hall, on the 3rd floor of the Reng Student Services
Center/Student Union. Dr. Ronald Takaki, internationally recognized
scholar, will serve as the keynote speaker. His address, "Multicultural
America," will begin at 12 p.m., immediately following the 11:30 a.m.
lunch buffet provided in Centennial Hall. At 1:15, Dr. Takaki will have
discussions with small groups of faculty.
Dr. Takaki, the grandson of Japanese immigrants in Hawaii, has
bridged many cultures as a student, a scholar, and an activist. As a
young professor, he taught the first black studies course offered at the
University of California, Los Angeles, shortly after the Watts riots.
Takaki has been professor of Ethnic
Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, for over 30 years.
His course, Ethnic Studies 130, "The Making of Multicultural America: A
Comparative Historical Perspective," provided the conceptual framework
for the BA program and the PhD program in Comparative Ethnic Studies.
His course also underlies the university's multicultural requirement for
graduation, the American Cultures requirement.
Takaki's 11 books include significant titles. His critically
acclaimed Iron Cages: Race and Culture in 19th Century America (Knopf,
1979), was followed by Strangers from A Different Shore: A History of
Asian Americans (Little, Brown, 1989), selected by the San Francisco
Chronicle as one of the best 100 non-fiction books of the 20th century.
A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America (Little, Brown,
1993) was chosen for an American Book Award. Publishers Weekly described
it as a "brilliant revisionist history of America that is likely to
become a classic of multicultural studies."
Takaki, a passionate advocate for multiculturalism, was
described by the Los Angeles Times as "a minority Everyman. He is a rare
hybrid, a multicultural scholar." Takaki maintains that multicultural
education has been misrepresented by the critics of multiculturalism,
noting Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in particular, who, in Takaki's view,
presents multiculturalism as ethnic separatism. Takaki has debated both
Schlesinger and Nathan Glazer, and in 1997, Takaki assisted President
Bill Clinton in brainstorming sessions for Clinton's significant speech,
"One America in the 21st Century: The President's Initiative on Race."
Takaki states, "As a scholar, I have been seeking to write a
more inclusive and hence more accurate history of Americans, Chicanos,
Native Americans as well as certain European immigrant groups like the
Irish and Jews. My scholarship seeks not to separate our diverse groups
but to show how our experiences were different but they were not
disparate. Multicultural history, as I write and present it, leads not
to what Schlesinger calls the "disuniting of America" but rather to the
re-uniting of America."
In 2005, Takaki won the Asian Pacific Council's Lifetime
Achievement Award for a lifetime of service to the Asian American
community with his writing, teaching, and exposure to America about
issues affecting Asian Americans.
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