Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 527–544 | Cite as

College admissions viewbooks and the grammar of gender, race, and STEM

  • Nana Osei-Kofi
  • Lisette E. Torres
Original Paper


Numerous reports on the US economy argue that American higher education institutions must prepare a greater number of workers for employment in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), in order for the US to remain globally competitive. To do so, addressing the underrepresentation of women and people of color who pursue degrees in STEM is viewed as critical. In this study we examine one of the most widespread marketing tools used by institutions of higher education to attract prospective students, the admissions viewbook. Specifically, we provide an analysis of the ways in which gender and race are situated in representations of undergraduate STEM education. Our findings, based on a critical and visual textual analysis of 20 viewbooks, suggest that viewbooks convey strong messages concerning race, gender, and issues of belonging, hierarchy, power, and privilege in STEM.


STEM  Gender Race Intersectionality Viewbooks Universities 



We borrow the notion of grammar, in our article title, from Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s work on racial grammar (see references). The authors wish to recognize Joyce Lui as a contributor to the early analysis of the data explored in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Language, Culture, and SocietyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.School of EducationIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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