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(Un)knowing Diversity

Gallagher-Geurtsen, Tricia

(Un)knowing Diversity

Researching Narratives of Neocolonial Classrooms through Youth’s Testimonios

Series: Critical Qualitative Research - Volume 5

Year of Publication: 2012

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2012. X, 179 pp., 1 ill.
ISBN 978-1-4331-1007-8 hb.  (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-1-4331-1006-1 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.380 kg, 0.838 lbs

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Book synopsis

(Un)knowing Diversity tells the powerful stories of five minoritized American youths’ school experiences. In their own words, we learn what it is like to go to school, what helps, what does not, and who these students are becoming. The author outlines the practice of testimonio work, then interprets each narrative, identifying the fixed, fluid, concurrent, and dynamic processes that serve to both map and unmap youth in schools – offering the possibility of decolonization. She identifies postcolonial and neocolonial concepts such as hybridity, nationalism, authenticity, ambivalence, transnationalism, and surveillance. The volume, which includes a study guide with questions and assignments suitable for undergraduate and graduate coursework, will be useful in qualitative methods courses, multicultural foundations courses, and courses in education and sociology.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsenreceived her Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a former bilingual teacher who collaborates with teachers and administrators to better meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students. She carries out research, writes, and speaks about postcolonial interpretations of schooling.


«[...] Sharing with fellow educators ‘urgent messages’ from young students of color, [this book] reveals how [...] they participate in, resist, question, and re-define the limits of identity, culture, language, and nation. Through thoughtful synthesis of theory (postcolonialism) and method (testimonio) the author unpacks how those who live in and struggle from the margins wrestle with the complexities and contradictions of decolonization, of arriving at hybrid locales. [...] Cultural workers – whether faculty or graduate students or those engaged in community work – who engage postcolonial, multicultural, and transnational perspectives and stories will appreciate and learn from this œuvre.» (Nina Asher, Ed.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
«Speaking to teacher candidates, teacher educators, teachers, and parents, Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen brilliantly opens a space for the conversation about the multiplicity and complexity of children’s lives. She brings the concept of hybridity into the light and urges us to reconstruct the cultural identities of our students. This volume is a poignant example of the future of multicultural education. Excellently written, grounded in postcolonial theory and testimonio methodology, this visionary text will be useful in graduate educational foundation courses as well as in teacher development workshops.» (Djanna Hill, Ed.D., Professor, William Paterson University)
«‘(Un)knowing Diversity’ is an inspiring and critical postcolonial project that [...] challenges educators and all Americans to talk to and actually listen to minority students' voices and experiences. The youths’ testimonios in this book rightfully highlight the complexity of minority youths’ identities, the changing meanings of what it means to be American, and above all, the ever so important need to decolonize a schooling system that does not meet the needs of minoritized students. For anyone authentically concerned with the future of U.S. public education – this book is a must read.» (Luis Urrieta Jr., PhD, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin; Author of ‘Working from Within: Chicana and Chicano Activist Educators in Whitestream Schools’)


Critical Qualitative Research. Vol. 5
General Editors: Shirley R. Steinberg and Gaile S. Cannella