Intergroup Dialogue: Engaging Difference, Social Identities, and Social Justice, the February (2012) special issue in the peer-reviewed journal Equity and Excellence in Education brings intergroup dialogue outcomes and research into focus across high school, college, and community settings. This special issue includes an introductory article by Ximena Zuniga, Gretchen Lopez, and Kristie Ford (co-editors) that provides an overview of existing intergroup dialogue approaches and directions for future research, as well as summarizing the key points across the articles. The 11 subsequent articles in the issue utilize a broad array of research methods to consider participant and facilitator perspectives on experiences and evaluation of intergroup dialogue.
The special issue includes four pieces that explore intergroup dialogue outcomes among college students. Three of these articles utilize data from the Multiuniversity Intergroup Dialogue Research Project (MIGR), two of which are quantitative in nature (Gurin-Sands, Gurin, Nagda, & Osuna; and Alimo) and one that is qualitative (Zuniga, Mildred, Varghese, DeJong, & Keehn). These articles focus on various elements of dialogue, including the experiences of students of color, how white students learn to be social change agents and racial allies, and the likelihood that students will engage in social justice action, to name a few.
Other articles in the issue focus on high school and community settings for intergroup dialogue. There are two articles that specifically explore student outcomes from high school dialogue initiatives including among University of Michigan’s Youth Dialogues on Race and Ethnicity in Metropolitan Detroit (Aldana, Rowley, Checkoway, & Richards-Schuster) and among a university-community collaborative on race dialogues in the Northeast with one urban and one suburban high school (Lopez & Nastasi). Additionally, there are articles that examine the structuring and facilitation of dialogue courses in high schools and the challenges and rewards that accompany such initiatives, including perspectives from teachers of color (Kohli) and other school program staff/administrators (Griffin, Brown, & Warren).
Additionally, two articles address wider applications of dialogue, including community dialogues (Davidson & Moses) in the US and internationally (Laman, Jewett, Jennings, Wilson, & Souto-Manning). These articles, in addition to several of the articles in the issue, offer some directions for practice and suggestions for policy and social change.
As the introductory piece states, “taken together, the articles in this special issue investigate and explore varied approaches for bringing people together across and within social identities and social contexts to engage social justice issues” (Zuniga, Lopez & Ford, p. 9). These pieces add to the discourse about dialogue and put various pieces of research on social justice education, with a focus on dialogue, into conversation with one another with the aim of continual improvement toward the goal of equality and justice.
A selection of additional research pieces related to dialogue is available on our research page.