Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education

Document Type



Cultural diversity is widely understood as needed, and the importance of learning about other cultures has been emphasized. However, if other cultures are located and explained within the framework where the culture of the Self invisibly maintains the fixed normative status, it would result in “a creation of cultural diversity and a containment of cultural difference” (Bhabha, 1990c, p. 208).

Addressing this issue, this dissertation study considers the curriculum that appreciates cultural differences in recognizing the alterity of the culture of the other, emerged from the engagement in the tension existing between two cultures, of the Self and of the other. In order to illustrate and test this approach, I use my experience as a Japanese person, teaching at a university in Louisiana, being engaged in “communicating across cultures” (Delpit, 1988, p. 296) with students. Taking my problematic notion revealed in the process of cultural conflict that “I am from a homogeneous country. Racism is your problem” as the main object of critical analysis, I explore how this notion is disrupted by the cultural encounter in the tension between “something that has been given to us” and “something absolutely new” (Derrida, in Caputo, 1997, p. 6) with thinking with theory methodology (Jackson & Mazzei 2017, 2012), using postmodern, postcolonial theories.

Through this exploration, I propose a curriculum that appreciates cultural differences, which: 1) involves witnessing the occurrence of deconstruction; and 2) engages in “double bind” (Derrida, 1992b, p. 29) thinking. I argue that in order to appreciate cultural differences, the attentiveness to the “concealed ‘otherness’” (Kearney, 1984, p. 106) of the culture of the Self is crucial, and thus critical examination of the culture of the Self is necessary. Moreover, I point out that the parallel exploration of the culture of the Self and of the other along a specific theme emerged from their encounter would illuminate what the culture of the Self is lacking, while the culture of the other may provide a concrete image of what the culture of the Self lacks as “the virtuality of difference” (May, 2005, p. 55).



Committee Chair

Hendry, Petra Munro



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