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Working Group 34 Diversity and American Studies (2016–2017)

The notion of diversity is a concept which has great depth and multiplicity embedded within it. It is also a notion with increasing importance in a world where migration, technology, education and economy constantly challenge any and all manners of borders and segregation. Therefore it is perceivable that the American society, which has been struggling with defining concepts of nationhood and roping together diverse manners of Americanness for centuries, is rapidly becoming a battleground for a range of discourses (legal, cultural, economic and otherwise) within diversity studies. Social diversity (be it sexual, ethnic, racial, etc.) generates a range of different issues concerning identity politics, human rights, citizenship, urban structures, or public health. Needless to say, social diversity and the innumerable controversies, discourses and considerations it has brought forth are of immeasurable significance for the future of American society as can be witnessed in the frequent references to related issues in the presidential campaign 2016. This working group attempted to decrypt the numerous images and representations of diversity in American society and to make sense of its implications for the future of the United States.