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  • Race, Culture, and Identities in Second Language Education
  • Raj Sanghera
R. Kubota, & A. Lin (Eds.). (2009). Race, Culture, and Identities in Second Language Education. New York: Routledge. Pp. 322, US$35.96 (paper).

In Race, Culture, and Identities in Second Language Education, Kubota and Lin draw upon a collection of scholarly works that poignantly address issues of race and its intersection with culture and identities in second language education. With an attempt to create space to engage with each author's work, each chapter presents pre-reading questions pushing the reader to examine his or her own assumptions, positionality, and experiences. Each chapter also concludes with a series of discussion questions, drawing upon and reflecting on the context of the chapter. As stated in the preface, this collection is best suited for undergraduate and graduate students of teaching English as a second/foreign language, bilingual education, foreign language teaching, and teacher educators. While the first chapter, by Kubota and Lin, outlines key terms used throughout the text, in order to fully immerse and [End Page 761] appreciate the intricacies of each chapter, it would be beneficial for readers to have some prior knowledge of key scholars and some understanding of theoretical frameworks in the field of race and culture.

This book is divided into three parts. Part One, 'Interrogating Whiteness,' highlights the hierarchical position of whiteness. In chapter 2, Liggett's research focuses on the lack of white teachers' own racial awareness as well as those of their students. In chapter 3, using the geographical backdrops of the United States and South Korea, Grant and Lee examine how issues of race and social class continue to sustain and privilege white vernacular English. Taylor-Mendes, in chapter 4, critically explores the images in English as a foreign language (EFL) textbooks used in Brazil. In particular, the author addresses the representation of the United States as a peaceful nation composed of social and political white elites. In chapter 5, Marx's research uncovers the subtle ways that racism is manifested in the institution of schooling: The study reveals the ethnic stereotypes teachers hold against English language learners (ELLs), in particular Latino students.

Part Two, 'Racializing Discourses and Identity Construction in Educational Settings,' addresses how the construction of racial identities can be imposed, internalized, and/or resisted. In chapter 6, Ellwood's ethnographic study, in a post-secondary English language program in Australia, examines how cultural differences as perceived by a white Anglo-Australian teacher worked in assigning fixed identities to her Japanese students which ultimately affected her pedagogical practices. Quach, Jo, and Urrieta Jr., in chapter 7, use Asian critical race theory to unravel how identity and language development of Asian students (attending predominantly all-white schools in the southeastern United States) has largely been shaped by race, racial relations, and experiences with racism. In chapter 8, Katz and Iddings present two separate case studies: The first explores the identity construction of two second-grade Mexican-American ELLs and their families, and the second examines the identity construction of African-American children in pre-school and kindergarten, specifically focusing on their oral and written narratives. In chapter 9, Bangou and Wong's qualitative study on race and technology in teacher education reveals how two foreign and second language pre-service teachers enrolled in a Master of Education program used technology as a vehicle to challenge racial stereotypes and construct counter-narratives to these prevailing stereotypes. This experience allowed them to assert their own racialized professional identities. In chapter 10, Ibrahim explores the [End Page 762] construction of blackness in French-speaking immigrant and continental African refugee youth in southwestern Ontario; the author examines how this construction influences what and how these students linguistically and culturally learn.

Part Three, 'Toward a Dialectic of Critically Engaged Praxis,' investigates the saliency of race in schooling. In chapter 11, Herrera and Morales use the perspective of 'colorblind nonaccommodative denial' (p. 197) to discuss white teachers' beliefs and teaching practices with a predominantly Mexican-American student population. Chacón, in chapter 12, addresses student notions of race and racism in EFL teacher-education courses in Venezuela. In chapter 13, Michael-Luna applies critical race theory...


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