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Document Type

Feature Article

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2008

Publication Title

Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD 3(2)


Peer Editor: Olga Lozovskaya; Faculty Mentor: John R. Bowen

Many educators and activists present multiculturalism as a lifestyle of tolerance that could counteract the twenty-first century’s extensive intercultural conflicts. However, multiculturalists have not yet developed a practical application of their philosophy. This research, conducted at the culturally diverse American Church in Paris, contributes to a growing body of scholarship that investigates the complexities of real multicultural situations. As this study will show, a culturally diverse institution can organize its community in many different ways, and each method of organization affects cross-cultural interactions between church members differently. This research demonstrates that members are most likely to form cross-cultural relationships when culture is not treated as the primary attribute of the participants; they are least likely to enact multicultural principles when presented with the idealism of mainstream multicultural philosophy. These and other findings demonstrate that the individual’s particular situation and practical concerns are the most powerful factors in her/ his willingness to relate cross-culturally. A successful multicultural environment must therefore provide a supportive forum for individuality and personal experiences.

From the Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD, Volume 3, Issue 2, Spring 2008. Published by the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Henry Biggs, Director of Undergraduate Research and Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Joy Zalis Kiefer, Undergraduate Research Coordinator, Co-editor, and Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Kristin Sobotka, Editor.


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