Multiculturalism as a Mechanism for Improving Thinking

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Delores B. Gallo


The value of multiculturalism is being questioned in both the academy and in popular literature. The purpose of this paper is to discuss and analyze how the practice of multiculturalism can improve critical and creative thinking and how this new perspective on multiculturalism can help reframe the national debate by understanding the cognitive benefits of multiculturalism. Chapter 1, Defining Multiculturalism in Context, defines and examines multiculturalism in the context of the history of race and race relations in the United States and within the context of critical and creative thinking. It also defines multiculturalism both as a conceptual framework and as a disposition in which one conducts critical and creative thinking. Chapter 2, The Multicultural Disposition in Critical and Creative Thinking, explores the specific ways in which multiculturalism enhances critical thinking through three major themes - ambiguity tolerance, dissent and controversy, and empathy. Chapter 3, Reframing The Debate, discusses the nature of the multiculturalism debate and examines ways in which new thinking about multiculturalism can develop a new understanding of its benefits and circumvent some of the most divisive thinking on the subject. Chapter 4, Research for the New Millennium, discusses the kind of research necessary to re-focus the debate on multiculturalism, research that breaks with past research on race relations and that examines the social, personal and cognitive benefits of multiculturalism.


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