Beyond Identity Politics: The New Culture Wars and Art Education

Kristine Sunday, Heather Kaplan

Abstract


With the surprise election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States and the subsequent resurgence of conservative social policies, this article situates the culture wars - the mini theme of this issue - within art education’s focus on multicultural and social justice initiatives. Harkening back to the battle between conservative republican moralist legislative policy and liberal values, we situate our work in the populist political landscape of Trump’s victory, which has re-inscribed difference marked by geography, race, class, gender, and religion while simultaneously engendering hostility towards the liberal values that seek to build inclusiveness and political agency for marginalized and oppressed peoples. Addressing rhetorical pastiche, we focus on how the identity politics of postmodern, multicultural art education have failed to give adequate consideration to the material systems of power and production. We then introduce the idea of new material precarity as a way to think about the entanglements of discourse and matter to suggest a more inclusive and intersectional approach to art education.

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