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The Reorder of ThingsThe University and Its Pedagogies of Minority Difference$
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Roderick A. Ferguson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816672783

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816672783.001.0001

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The Racial Genealogy of Excellence

The Racial Genealogy of Excellence

Chapter:
(p.76) Three The Racial Genealogy of Excellence
Source:
The Reorder of Things
Author(s):

Roderick A. Ferguson

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816672783.003.0004

This chapter explores the hierarchies and hegemonies established through a culture of “excellence.” The open admissions struggle at City College was indicative of this, as it eventually resulted in an academic divide between African American and Puerto Rican students. In June Jordan’s essay, “Black Studies: Bringing Back the Person,” she observes that the academic institution—far from isolating itself from colonialist impulses—serves to reinforce racialized genealogies of colonialism, slavery, and neocolonialism. Emergent interdisciplinary fields like black studies were envisioned as transcending beyond the bounds of institutional excellence, yet these fields are also a divisive force that can remove the context of one minority group’s participation in favor of the other. Jordan’s alternative to such institutional practices is to recognize the possibility of lives within the academe—that the Puerto Rican context in the open admissions debacle matters as much as the African American one.

Keywords:   open admissions, City College, Black Studies, neocolonialism, institutional excellence, interdisciplinary fields

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