Submission Date


Document Type



Media & Communication Studies

Faculty Mentor

Sheryl Goodman

Project Description

As researchers have noted, many people are afraid to talk about race (Alexander, 2010; Miller & Harris, 2005). Given the race-related events and tragedies occurring in the U.S. today, people need to find ways to move past this fear in order to work together to solve societal problems. Harris (2003) suggested that the undergraduate classroom is a key place to engage in discussions about race. This research project examined the ways that college students talk about race and race-related problems in the classroom. The data collected for this project included observations and audio recordings of three sections of a seminar taken by all first-year students at a small liberal arts college over a two-week period when they discussed Alexander’s (2010) book, The New Jim Crow. In total, 9 classes were examined, and the recordings were transcribed and analyzed ethnographically. Several kinds of discursive moves were identified and examined including the use of stories and metacommunication. The implications of these findings are considered.


Presented during the 18th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 22, 2016 at Ursinus College.

Open Access

Available to all.