Visual Media, Representation, and Educulturalism: Challenging Racism in Canadian University Contexts

By Karen McGarry.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Visual media have long been recognized as a means of inspiring affective or emotional responses among consumers and/or spectators. Within the context of postsecondary classroom settings, visual media, combined with “educultural” (Lea and Sims 2008) teaching strategies, are hailed for their ability to disrupt dominant cultural notions of race, such as white privilege. This paper explores the ways in which the introduction of various forms of visual media in my first year anthropology class opened up a productive discursive space for challenging mainstream and mythologized ideals of Canadian multiculturalism, and the dominant view of Canada as a diverse and accepting nation. Indeed, Canadian society has long been rooted in white Euro-Canadian values (Mackey 2002), yet Canadians are enculturated to normalize such ideals. In the process, embedded or institutionalized forms of racism persist. Using a classroom example derived from ethnographic data, I document how the introduction of visual imagery in classroom settings stimulates an affective response among students. Such a response is necessary to unsettle dominant ideals of race and white privilege and to open up a more inclusive and accepting space within university contexts.

Keywords: Canada, Race, Education

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 9, Issue 3-4, March 2015, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 635.634KB).

Dr. Karen McGarry

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada