August 30, 2010
Dr. Ronald T. Takaki '61 (photo by Peg Skorpinski)
WOOSTER, Ohio, Aug. 30, 2010 – The College of Wooster’s
Center for Diversity and Global Engagement will host a conference in memory of
Dr. Ronald T. Takaki, a pioneering scholar of multicultural studies and 1961
graduate of the college, October 8-10, on the Wooster campus. The deadline for
advance registration is Sept. 24.
“Remapping the Terrain: ‘Our American Stories’” will focus
on developing new strategies and paradigms for teaching concepts of race and
ethnic studies to undergraduates at liberal arts colleges and universities.
Plenary speakers include Sumi Cho, professor at DePaul
University College of Law; Charles P. Henry, professor and chair of the
department of African American studies at the University of California,
Berkeley; Johnnella Butler, provost and vice president for academic affairs at
Spelman College; and Timothy P. Fong, professor and chair of the department of
ethnic studies at California State University, Sacramento.
“Ronald Takaki was truly a pioneer in the area of comparative
ethnic studies,” Fong said. “Before, racial and ethnic groups were studied
separately from one another. Takaki helped develop a new paradigm that
explicitly and accurately compares and contrasts diverse group experiences.
To Takaki, diversity is not a problem for the United States; rather,
diversity is the essence of the United States.”
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1939, Takaki “found his
vocation while earning a bachelor’s degree in history at the College of Wooster
in Ohio,” according to The New York Times. He went on to earn a Ph.D. at the
University of California, Berkeley, and began his scholarly career at U.C.L.A.,
where he taught the university’s first African-American history course.
Takaki returned to Berkeley in 1972 and taught there for
more than three decades, mentoring scores of young scholars and establishing
the first ethnic studies Ph.D. program in the U.S. He wrote more than a dozen
books on Asian American history and race and ethnic dynamics in U.S. society
and culture, including Iron Cages: Race and Culture in 19th Century America, Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans, and A Different Mirror: A History of
Multicultural America. He died in 2009, at the age of 70.
“As a professor, I have used the works of Dr. Takaki for
years and to great good effect in my teaching,” said Grant H. Cornwell, professor
of philosophy and Wooster’s president. “Generations of students, in scores of
classrooms in universities across the nation and throughout the world, have
come to understand the dynamics of race and ethnicity through the critical and
creative lens Dr. Takaki provides in his work.”
The Center for Diversity and Global Engagement at The
College of Wooster serves as a point of coordination for campus and community
initiatives that address diversity in all of its forms on both the local and
global levels. Merging student life and curricular development with programming
and outreach, the center aims to foster an understanding of the local situated
within a broader world context.
The College of Wooster is an independent liberal arts
college, nationally recognized for an innovative curriculum that emphasizes
mentored, independent research. Each Wooster senior works one-on-one with a
faculty adviser to create an original research project, written work,
performance or art exhibit. Founded in 1866, the college enrolls approximately
Inquiries about the conference may be directed to Dr.
Josephine Wright at The College of Wooster, at 330-263-2434.
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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