EDST578 Multiculturalism in Time, Place and Space: Addressing cultural and historical dissonances in education

Instructors: Vanessa Andreotti, Tom Scholte and Dani Pigeau

This course supports educators to expand professional and personal dispositions to more effectively address questions, complexities and paradoxes  related to cultural and historical dissonance in the areas of multiculturalism, race relations, EDI, Indigenous engagement, decolonization, and Indigenization. 

The course (approx. 39 hours) has two main components: lectures, exercises and discussions that will happen online, including 3 synchronous online sessions on September 10, October 8, and November 5 from 9 am to 12 pm PST time (Saturdays),  and a systems theatre practice that will happen in 3 face-to-face whole-day sessions on September 24, October 22 and November 19 from 9 am to 4 pm PST time (Saturdays). Participants are also expected to complete three asynchronous modules (3 hours each) before each online session. Participation in both online and face-to-face components is compulsory.

The online component of this course will address multiculturalism in three different dimensions: across generations (time), in its relationship with Indigenous struggles and the call for decolonization (place), and in relation to complexities and paradoxes of educational policies and practices  (space). A systems and complexity approach will be used to invite participants to expand their capacity to hold space for the many moving layers of complexity associated with different perspectives on, practices of and challenges to multiculturalism. The systems theatre component will engage participants not only with the intellectual dimension of learning, but also affective and relational dimensions emphasizing dispositions that are necessary for navigating VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) in the broad area of historical, systemic and on-going racial inequalities in Canada. 

This course uses a depth pedagogy approach to education, which prioritizes the following questions in discussions about teaching and learning:

What is the role of education in:

  • building our collective capacity to tackle the wicked problems of our time, including unprecedented complex dilemmas and also disasters of our own making that we will have to face together?
  • equipping people to do the kindest and most responsible thing to each other, to other species and to the land at all times, especially in times of crises and social polarisation?
  • developing dispositions that will lead people to choose sobriety, maturity, discernment and responsibility in a culture (of late modernity) that often promotes and rewards the opposite?

This is not a course that tells you what to think or what to do in your context, but a course that aims to support participants to build capacity and stamina to engage with the multiple moving layers of complexity of academic debates and educational policies and practices, in order to make better informed and more accountable contextual decisions in their own contexts of professional practice.  Participants will be exposed to knowledge considered difficult and painful and will be offered tools that can help them navigate uncomfortable topics without feeling overwhelmed, immobilized, or demanding quick fixes.

By the end of this course, participants will be better placed to:

  • Explain some of the history, paradoxes, complexities and limitations of multiculturalism in Canada;
  • Identify points of common experiences and tensions at the interface between the multicultural project in Canada, Indigenous struggles, and calls for land back and decolonization;
  • Articulate some of the complexities of approaching multiculturalism, decolonization and Indigenization in education in Canada; 
  • Expand their capacity and resilience for working in complex educational environments.


  • Participation: 10% (full participation in online and face-to-face sessions)
  • Creative response: video, audio, visual, poetry, text (30%), due December 3 2022.
  • 6 (un)learning journals: 500 words (10% each)

Reading Bundles (for the online sessions)

Reading bundle 1: Standpoint overviews

The first reading bundle aims to give you stadpoint overviews from different settler positionalities of the history of multiculturalism in Canada as it is seen from today’s vantage point. Please read the required article (Thobani) and the abstracts of the articles in the discretionary list before you choose one more article from the discretionary list to read.  


Thobani, S. (2018). Neoliberal multiculturalism and western exceptionalism: The cultural politics of the West. Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences, 11(2), 161-174.


  • McNeil, D. (2021). Even Canadians Find It a Bit Boring: A Report on the Banality of Multiculturalism. Canadian Journal of Communication, 46(3), 403-429.
  • Eisenberg, A. (2019). Multiculturalism in a Context of Minority Nationalism and Indigenous Rights. Multiculturalism in the British Commonwealth, 67-82.
  • Kymlicka, W. (2021). The precarious resilience of multiculturalism in Canada. American Review of Canadian Studies, 51(1), 122-142.
  • Simpson, J. S., James, C. E., & Mack, J. (2011). Multiculturalism, colonialism, and racialization: Conceptual starting points. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 33(4), 285-305.
  • Burman, J. (2016). Multicultural feeling, feminist rage, Indigenous refusal. Cultural Studies? Critical Methodologies, 16(4), 361-372.
  • Greensmith, Cameron. “Desiring diversity: The limits of white settler multiculturalism in queer organizations.” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 18, no. 1 (2018): 57-77.

Reading bundle 2: Indigenous struggles

This reading bundle aims to offer deeper insights on the tensions at the interface of discussions related to multiculturalism and Indigenous struggles in Canada. Please read the required article (St. Denis) + letter (GTDF) and then choose one pair of readings from the discretionary list: each pair (colour coded) represents a “difficult conversation” related to the theme of immigration and Indigenous peoples. 


St. Denis, V. (2011). Silencing Aboriginal curricular content and perspectives through multiculturalism:“There are other children here”. Review of education, pedagogy, and cultural studies, 33(4), 306-317.

GTDF (2019). A letter to prospective immigrants to what is known as Canada. Available online at: https://decolonialfutures.net/portfolio/letter-to-prospective-immigrants/ Last accessed on 05.31.22.


  • Lawrence, B., & Dua, E. (2005). Decolonizing antiracism. Social justice, 32(4 (102), 120-143.
  • Sharma, N., & Wright, C. (2008). Decolonizing resistance, challenging colonial states. Social Justice, 35(3 (113), 120-138.
  • King, T. L. (2016). New World Grammars: The ‘Unthought’ Black Discourses of Conquest. Theory & Event, 19(4).
  • Leroy, J. (2016). Black history in occupied territory: On the entanglements of slavery and settler colonialism. Theory & Event, 19(4).
  • Tuck, E., & Yang, K. W. (2012). Decolonization is not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society.
  • Garba, T., & Sorentino, S. M. (2020). Slavery is a metaphor: a critical commentary on Eve Tuck and k. Wayne Yang’s “decolonization is not a metaphor”. Antipode, 52(3), 764-782.

Reading bundle 3: Complexities and Paradoxes in Education

This reading bundle offers a number of different perspectives that touch on the complexities and paradoxes of approaching multiculturalism, decolonization and Indigenization in education in Canada. Read the two required text and choose one more from the discretionary list.


Miles, J. (2021). Curriculum reform in a culture of redress: How social and political pressures are shaping social studies curriculum in Canada. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 53(1), 47-64.

Wark, J. (2021). Land acknowledgements in the academy: Refusing the settler myth. Curriculum Inquiry, 51(2), 191-209.


  • Lei, L., & Guo, S. (2022). Beyond multiculturalism: revisioning a model of pandemic anti-racism education in post-Covid-19 Canada. International Journal of Anthropology and Ethnology, 6(1), 1-22.
  • Stein, S. (2018). National exceptionalism in the ‘EduCanada’ brand: Unpacking the ethics of internationalisation marketing in Canada. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 39(3), 461-477.
  • Taylor, L. K. (2021). Getting Past the White Paper: Inclusion, Antiracism and Decolonial Inheriting in Teacher Education. In Superdiversity and Teacher Education (pp. 52-68). Routledge.
  • James, C. E., & Howard, P. S. (2022). The Education System of Canada: Multiculturalism, Multicultural Education, and Racialized Students in Canada. In The Education Systems of the Americas (pp. 313-326). Springer International Publishing.
  • Marom, L. (2017). A New Immigrant Experience of Navigating Multiculturalism and Indigenous Content in Teacher Education. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 46(4), 23–40.
  • Schick, C. (2014). White resentment in settler society. Race Ethnicity and Education, 17(1), 88-102.

Further reading:

  • Byrd, J. A. (2019). Weather with you: Settler colonialism, antiblackness, and the grounded relationalities of resistance. Critical Ethnic Studies, 5(1-2), 207-214.
  • Chen, C. (2021). Football legend, role model, cultural ambassador, and true Canadian? A critical reading of the mediated legacy of Norman Kwong, the ‘China Clipper’. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 56(7), 943-961.
  • Hadj Abdou, L. (2019). Immigrant integration: The governance of ethno-cultural differences. Comparative Migration Studies, 7(15), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40878-019-0124-8
  • Haque, E. (2018). Multiculturalism within a bilingual framework. University of Toronto Press.
  • Kerr, J., & Andreotti, V. (2019). Crossing borders in initial teacher education: Mapping dispositions to diversity and inequity. Race ethnicity and education, 22(5), 647-665.
  • Klarenbeek is the most prominent voice in this discussion in migration studies, writes mostly about Europe; Villegas et al. might be interesting for your class, from a Canadian perspective?
  • Klarenbeek, L. M. (2019). Reconceptualising ‘integration as a two-way process.’ Migration Studies, mnz033, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1093/migration/mnz033
  • Kunz, S. (2022). Provincializing “immigrant integration”: Privileged migration to Nairobi and the problem of integration. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 45(10), 1896-1917. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2021.1980222
  • Lovato, R. (2021). The Age of Intersectional Empire Is Upon Us. The Nation. Available online at: https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/cia-video-intersectional/tnamp/. Last accessed 05.31.22
  • Mayblin, L., & Turner, J. (2020). Migration studies and colonialism. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Pelak, C. F. (2019). Teaching and learning about settler-colonial racism: A case for “unsettling” minoritizing and multicultural perspectives. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 5(2), 294-304.
  • Sabzalian, L. (2019). The tensions between Indigenous sovereignty and multicultural citizenship education: Toward an anticolonial approach to civic education. Theory & Research in Social Education, 47(3), 311-346.
  • Samuels-Wortley, K. (2021). To serve and protect whom? Using composite counter-storytelling to explore Black and Indigenous youth experiences and perceptions of the police in Canada. Crime & delinquency, 67(8), 1137-1164.
  • Schinkel, W. (2018). Against ‘immigrant integration’: For an end to neocolonial knowledge production. Comparative Migration Studies, 6(31), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40878-018-0095-1
  • Sexton, J. (2016). The vel of slavery: Tracking the figure of the unsovereign. Critical Sociology, 42(4-5), 583-597.
  • Stein, S. (2020). ‘Truth before reconciliation’: the difficulties of transforming higher education in settler colonial contexts. Higher Education Research & Development, 39(1), 156-170.
  • Táíwò, O. O. (2022). Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (And Everything Else). Haymarket Books.
  • Villegas, P. E., Barrie, B., Peña, S., Alphonso, J., & Mamoon, A. (2020). Integration, settler colonialism, and precarious legal status migrants in Canada. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 21, 1131–1147. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-019-00670-3

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