Cover image for Wrestling with diversity
Title:
Wrestling with diversity
Author:
Levinson, Sanford, 1941-
ISBN:
9780822385141
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Durham : Duke University Press, c2003.
Physical Description:
xi, 335 p. ; 24 cm.
Contents:
Diversity -- Promoting diversity in the public schools : or, to what extent does the establishment clause of the First Amendment hinder the establishment of more genuinely multicultural schools? -- "Getting religion" : religion, diversity, and community in public and private schools / with Meira Levinson -- Identifying the Jewish lawyer : reflections on the construction of professional identity -- National loyalty, communalism, and the professional identity of lawyers -- The confrontation of religious faith and civil religion : Catholics becoming justices -- Abstinence and exclusion : what does liberalism demand of the religiously oriented (would be) judge? -- Is liberal nationalism an oxymoron? : an essay for Judith Shklar -- "Culture," "religion," and the law / with Rachel Levinson.
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Summary

Summary

"Diversity" has become a mantra within discussions of university admissions policies and many other arenas of American society. In the essays collected here, Sanford Levinson, a leading scholar of constitutional law and American government, wrestles with various notions of diversity. He begins by explaining why he finds the concept to be almost useless as a genuine guide to public policy. Discussing affirmative action in university admissions, including the now famous University of Michigan Law School case, he argues both that there may be good reasons to use preferences--including race and ethnicity--and that these reasons have relatively little to do with any cogently developed theory of diversity. Distinguished by Levinson's characteristic open-mindedness and willingness to tease out the full implications of various claims, each of these nine essays, written over the past decade, develops a case study focusing on a particular aspect of public life in a richly diverse, and sometimes bitterly divided, society.

Although most discussions of diversity have focused on race and ethnicity, Levinson is particularly interested in religious diversity and its implications. Why, he asks, do arguments for racial and ethnic diversity not also counsel a concern to achieve religious diversity within a student body? He considers the propriety of judges drawing on their religious views in making legal decisions and the kinds of questions Senators should feel free to ask nominees to the federal judiciary who have proclaimed the importance of their religion in structuring their own lives. In exploring the sense in which Sandy Koufax can be said to be a "Jewish baseball player," he engages in broad reflections on professional identity. He asks whether it is desirable, or even possible, to subordinate merely "personal" aspects of one's identity--religion, political viewpoints, gender--to the impersonal demands of the professional role. Wrestling with Diversity is a powerful interrogation of the assumptions and contradictions underlying public life in a multicultural world.