Book Reviews

Book by Banks, J.A.
Review by: Shannon Lynn Burton
Academic Advising Specialist
School of Criminal Justice
Michigan State University


As our world becomes a global community, discussions of what it means to be a citizen in this new world become ever more important on our college and university campuses. These discussions aim to give students “the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to make reflective decisions and to take actions to make their nation-states more democratic and just (Banks, 1997, p. 4).” Good citizens work for the benefit of all racial, social and cultural groups. Diversity and Citizenship Education: Global Perspectives not only defines what it means to be a citizen in this new global community, but it provides thorough case studies of how citizenship education is being carried out in the United States, as well as in other countries on nearly every continent.  This is truly a world issue and one that needs to be reinforced not only in student classrooms, but in their extra and co-curricular activities, as well as by the student affairs professionals that work with the students growing up in a “flat world (Friedman, 2006)”.  

This book is particularly helpful to academic advisors in a number of ways. First, it truly defines  citizenship education and helps put it into a perspective that can help advisors better understand and explain the “whys” and “what for” of campus internationalization and the global citizenship reinforced by our curricula. Second, it can assist advisors provide examples of work done in the area of citizenship education throughout the globe; it supports continuing initiatives on our campuses or can help us to develop new initiatives that support student development. Finally, the authors reinforce that these issues are not solely issues belonging to the United States, but issues that are being faced globally. This is particularly important as we work with students considering study abroad, service-learning, internships, or careers where they will come into contact with the “other”.

Part One, “Crosscutting Issues and Concepts,” confirms the need for “civic equality as the aim of democratic education (p. 2).”  Part Two, “The United States and Canada,” provides a good touchstone for educators raised and taught in the United States before delving into citizenship education from around the world.  Part Three, “South Africa and Brazil,” the contradictions of “racial democracy” are brought to light.  Part Four, “England, Germany, and Russia,” turns to nations that are often thought of as mono-cultural by individuals unfamiliar with their histories.  Part Five, “Japan, India, and China,” discusses how these countries address issues of civic equality and multiculturalism in their educational systems and offer a different perspective on working with these issues than their European counterparts. Part Six, “Israel and Palestine,” delves into a hotbed of controversy surrounding ethnic groups, cooperation or lack thereof, and civic equality. Part Seven, “Curriculum for Diversity, Democracy and Citizenship Education,” describes the type of curriculum that needs to exist to promote democratic values and multiculturalism

Diversity and Citizenship Education is geared toward those with a much broader scope than the average academic advisor. However, it does provide a solid basis for discussing these issues with faculty and administrators. The chapter authors truly considered what it means to be a global citizen. As a result, this book can assist academic advisors in presenting a holistic vision of the often disconnected aspects of a student’s academic requirements and the responsibilities given to them as the keepers of our global community before and after graduation.


References:

Banks, J. A. (1997). Educating citizens in a multicultural society. New York: Teachers College Press.

Friedman, T.L.  (2006). The World Is Flat:  A Brief History of the 21st Century.  New York:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


Diversity and Citizenship Education: Global Perspectives (2007). Book by Banks, J.A., ed. Review by: Shannon Lynn Burton. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.  528 pp.  $28.00.  ISBN # 978-0-7879-8765-7
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