IDEA, Integrating Diversity and Equality in the Academy, is an interdisciplinary University of Michigan Rackahm group creating a community of scholars to think critically about the challenges of integrating diversity within the academy. Keeping in mind the University of Michigan’s ongoing efforts to think about diversity, we hope to consider the role of diversity within the institution and the ways in which we can work through issues that affect our own academic communities. We imagine building from the work of scholars like Sara Ahmed who have begun to ask questions about what diversity is, what kind of work it is doing in higher education, and what we are doing when we use the language of diversity in opposition or tension with the language of “equality” or “social justice.” Although there are many Rackham interdisciplinary communities for identity specific support, like the BHC or SCOR, this workshop aims to be more intersectional, cultivating discussions about diversity across race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, age, citizenship status, religion, academic access (first generation students), and more.
We imagine the group working on these three levels:
1. Social Support/Mentoring: We plan on building a sense of community by holding general study, writing, and work events. In conjunction, we will also hold separate events to share and discuss readings about diversity in academia and the academic world at large.
2. Academic work/engagement: We plan to host conferences and workshops on Integrating Diversity in the Academy. The goal will be to foster ideas and solutions through formal discussions about pertinent issues raised during the conference.
3. Advocacy: Through our collective studies, we hope to advocate for the employment of strategies to foster a more inclusive academic community. And along those lines, we intend to make our group available for consultation on issues concerning integrating diversity in our individual departments.