Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The thesis explores the problem of multicultural education in predominantly white college composition classrooms. As a rule, proponents of multicultural education in the composition class envision ethnically and racially diverse learning environments. Since multiculturalism in these learning environments tends to reflect the life experiences of the students and thus is likely to enhance their learning experience, multiculturalism is approached as an intrinsic part of the students' experience. The teaching methods for multiculturalism in composition developed on the basis of these ethnically and racially diverse learning environments are then often transferred to predominantly white classrooms. However, this study finds that in predominantly white classrooms, which are ethnically and racially more homogeneous, the dynamics for multiculturalism in composition are very different and thus call for different approaches and rationales to the problem than are currently applied.

The study examines the currently applied approaches and rationales to multiculturalism in composition classes and draws from multicultural composition textbooks, research in composition pedagogy as well as information from students (through a survey conducted at the University of North Dakota).

The study attempts to define and to describe the problem which has not been defined yet—let alone discussed. As a solution to the problem, the study proposes a reexamination of the concept of multiculturalism and of multicultural education in their social context and argues for a pedagogy of cultural mediation. The main goal of the study, however, is to initiate and facilitate a discussion among scholars and teachers of composition about the problem of multiculturalism in predominantly white college composition classrooms.