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UMFK professor to speak on diversity at the UMM

October 30, 2006


University of Maine at Fort Kent's Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology Dr. Mariella Squire, will speak at a University of Maine System faculty and staff conference on diversity, "Pedagogues of Diversity, Diversity of Pedagogy: Diversity and Scholarship at the Turn of the 21st Century " at the University of Maine at Machias on Friday, November 3.

Dr Squire's presentation is entitled "Diversity or Diversification: Issues of Class, Position, Power, and Identity in Maine." The presentation will focus on one researcher's observations of higher education in Maine.

While there is a good understanding of what diversity ought to be, true diversity is largely overshadowed by mere diversification - adding surface variety and the appearance of difference, without substantially changing the core of social inequality and exclusion.

Higher Education is still largely a middle-class and upper-class pursuit. It is largely an urban, suburban, and town pursuit and is still largely staffed by professionals from middle class, town backgrounds, and by students from middle-class town backgrounds.

The membership of the middle-class and of higher education may be more colorful and more eccentric that in 1960, but it is not necessarily more diverse in its collective thoughts and behaviors. Nor does it necessarily either teach to a truly more diverse audience, or teach in a truly more diverse way. There is diversification, but maybe not diversity.

Dr. Squire will discuss how the diversification of the elite and middle-class social has largely overshadowed the value of diversity. She will discuss how the power to define the identities of "Others" is still largely in the hands of the dominant group, which sets the parameters for what is or is not acceptable variety. Dr. Squire also will discuss ways this innate oppression plays out in self-conscious identity, in exoticism and tokenism, and in stereotyped assumptions about the "Others."

Professor Squire joined the UMFK campus in 1998. She was awarded her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Albany, SUNY in Albany, New York in 1996. She also holds a masters of education in education, secondary education and multiculturalism from St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont, which she received in 1981, and a masters of arts in anthropology from the University of Buffalo, SUNY in Amherst, New York, received in 1977. She received her bachelor of arts in anthropology from the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont in 1975.