Monday, November 4, 2013

Patricia Gurin: Intergroup Dialogue Methodology and Diversity

On November 6, CSW is thrilled to host an event with Patricia Gurin, the Nancy Cantor Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Psychology and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. Gurin will present and sign her new book, Dialogue Across Difference: Practice, Theory, and Research on Intergroup Dialogue, which was co-written with Biren (Ratnesh) A. Nagda and Ximena Zuniga

A social psychologist, Dr. Gurin’s work has focused on social identity, the role of social identity in political attitudes and behavior, motivation and cognition in achievement settings, and the role of social structure in intergroup relations. She is a Faculty Associate of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research and of the Center for African and Afro-American Studies. She directs the research division of the Program on Intergroup Relations, a curricular program co-sponsored by the College of Literature, Science, & the Arts and the Division of Student Affairs. She has written eight books and monographs and numerous articles on these topics. She is an expert witness in the University of Michigan’s defense of its undergraduate and law school admissions policies. In collaboration with Sylvia Hurtado, Eric Dey, and Gerald Gurin, all of the Center for Post-Secondary and Higher Education at the University of Michigan, she provided the expert report on the Educational Value of Diversity for these lawsuits.

Gurin’s new book addresses ways in which higher education institutions can productively incorporate the ever-increasing diversity of their student bodies. The authors draw upon a methodology called “intergroup dialogues,” which was first developed in the 1980s. Intergroup dialogues bring together an equal number of students from two different groups such as people of color and white people, or women and men to share their perspectives and learn from each other. Gurin and her co-authors’ extensive research with college students persuasively demonstrates that such dialogues effectively bridge gaps between individuals of different genders and ethnic backgrounds, helping to repair the divisiveness that sometimes accompanies such differences among large groups of people. The book’s back matter states that the “ambitious and timely” book “presents a persuasive practical, theoretical and empirical account of the benefits of intergroup dialogue. The data and research presented in this volume offer a useful model for improving relations among different groups not just in the college setting but in the United States as well.”

--Ben Raphael Sher

Ben Sher is a graduate student in the Cinema and Media Studies Program at UCLA and an editorial assistant and graduate student researcher at CSW.


For more info on Patricia Gurin's visit to UCLA, go to:

Photo by Emily Tishhouse of Emily Kay Photography

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