Reclaiming Diversity: Advancing the Next Generation of Diversity Research Toward Racial Equity

  • Uma M. JayakumarEmail author
  • Liliana M. Garces
  • Julie J. Park
Part of the Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research book series (HATR, volume 33)


In this chapter, the authors connect the evolution of diversity research to the outcomes of key U.S. Supreme Court cases over the last four decades. They discuss how constraints in early understandings of diversity have allowed for the concept to be co-opted and diluted, thereby limiting diversity as a tool for addressing racial inequality and advocacy today. Employing a critical race praxis for educational research (CRP-Ed) lens, which draws from Derrick Bell’s thesis of interest convergence, the authors explain the contradictions of engaging in the debate about how race can be considered in higher education, and assert the need for a new critical reframing of diversity in order to advance research, policy, and discourse. The authors conclude the chapter by highlighting recent empirical and theoretical work that can inform a new agenda for diversity research toward advancing racial equity in postsecondary education. This chapter will be of interest to higher education scholars and practitioners who have a strategic critical orientation toward diversity research, as well as those who are interested in developing a critical consciousness.


Diversity Inclusion Racial equity College access Affirmative action Postsecondary admissions practices Meritocracy Higher education policy Diversity rationale Research advocacy Critical race praxis for educational research Institutional diversity Campus climate Cross-racial interaction Critical mass Microaggressions Safe spaces Interest convergence Colorblindness White fragility 



We thank Anne-Marie Núñez for the invitation and opportunity to reflect on the needs of future diversity research. This piece greatly benefited from Anne-Marie’s and Karen Jarsky’s thoughtful comments and editing of prior drafts. Uma Jayakumar thanks the Spencer Foundation for supporting this work, particularly through the 2016–2017 Midcareer Grant. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Spencer Foundation or of anyone other than the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uma M. Jayakumar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Liliana M. Garces
    • 2
  • Julie J. Park
    • 3
  1. 1.Higher Education and Policy, Graduate School of EducationUniversity of California, RiversideRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational Leadership and PolicyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special EducationUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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