Inaffirmative Action: Diversity, Racism, and Admissions Policies in U.S. Colleges and Universities

Endorsed by the OAH Committee on Academic Freedom and the OAH–Japanese Association for American Studies Japan Historians’ Collaborative Committee

Saturday, April 4, 2020, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Type: Panel Discussion

Tags: Education; Race; Religion


One measure of the shifts in equality and inequality on U.S. college campuses can be explored through debates about admissions. Panelists will discuss early 20th-century concepts of cultural pluralism, the development of a quota system favoring white male Protestant applicants, and the resistance against it. Civil rights legislation in the 1960s ushered in affirmative action, meant to increase the numbers of students from groups previously excluded or underrepresented. Panelists will review legal battles over race-based admissions programs and protests by Asian and white applicants, and invite audience comment.

Session Participants

Chair and Panelist: Lynn Y. Weiner, Roosevelt University

Lynn Weiner is Professor of History Emerita at Roosevelt University, where she was also dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for twelve years. Her undergraduate degree in history is from the University of Michigan and she holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University. She serves on the boards of the Center for New Deal Studies and the National Collaborative for Women's History Sites. Her publications include two books: From Working Girl to Working Mother: The Female Labor Force in the U.S., 1820-1980, and Roosevelt University (a photo history). She has also published a variety of journal articles looking at the histories of baby books, the depiction of families at Disney World, women hoboes, the iconography of FDR, women’s labor history historic sites and the La Leche League (which won the 1995 OAH Binkley-Stephenson Prize). Her most recent article - on the founding of Roosevelt University in 1945 in protest against racial and religious college admission quotas - will be published this summer in Chicago History.

Lynn Weiner, Roosevelt University
phone: 708-466-7149
mailing address: 527 S. Clinton, Oak Park, IL 60304

Panelist: Miyuki Kita, University of Kitakyushu
Miyuki Kita is Professor of American Studies at the University of Kitakyushu, Japan. She was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar affiliated with Brandeis University in 2012–2013. In 2018-2019, she is a visiting scholar at Queens College, CUNY. She researches antisemitism in American higher education, Jewish participation in the civil rights movement, and the American cultural impact on Kitakyushu during the Korean War and thereafter. Her works include "Half-Opened Golden Door: American Jews' Quest for Color-Blindness in College Admission," which received the 2008 American Studies Foundation Book Award; “Breaking the ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’: Jews and the 1945 New York Fair Employment Practices Act,” in Mohrer and Goldwasser eds., "New York and the American Jewish Communal Experience," and "Foot Soldiers in the Civil Rights Movement: The Diary of a Jewish Student Volunteer."

Miyuki Kita, University of Kitakyushu

email: or

phone: +81-93-964-4068 U.S. cell through May 2019: 718-209-0417


Through May 2019: 64-40 Kissena Bvd, #126, Flushing, NY 11367

After May 2019: Department of International Relations,
University of Kitakyushu, 4-2-1 Kitagata, Kokuraminami-ku,
Kitakyushu-Shi, Fukuoka 802-8577, Japan

Panelist: David Weinfeld, Virginia Commonwealth University
David Weinfeld is the visiting assistant professor of religious studies and the Harry Lyons Chair in Judaic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his doctorate in History and Hebrew and Judaic Studies from New York University. He is working on his first book, An American Friendship: Horace Kallen, Alain Locke, and the Development of Cultural Pluralism. His article, "Les Intellectuels in America: William James, the Dreyfus Affair, and the Development of the Pragmatist Intellectual," was published in the Journal of American History in June 2018. His article "The Maccabaean and the Melting Pot: Contributionist Zionism and American Diversity Discourse, 1903-1915" was published in the American Jewish Archives Journal in January 2019.

David Weinfeld, Virginia Commonwealth University

phone: 804-828-8948
address: Department of Religious Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, 14 N. Laurel St, Room 2002, Richmond, VA 23220

Panelist: Koyu Yoshioka, Tokushima University
Koyu Yoshioka is an associate professor at Tokushima University, Japan. He earned his Ph. D. and M.A. in International Cultural Studies at Tohoku University, and his B.A. in English at Sapporo University. His work focuses specifically on the dismantling of race-based affirmative action programs since the mid-1990s and the management of diversity at the public higher educational institutions in the United States. His dissertation explored the current controversy over affirmative action and the theories and methods of achieving diversity in California, Texas, and Florida. His latest article on the transition of the admission policies in Texas was published in the Journal of Human Sciences and Arts in 2018 (in Japanese).

Koyu Yoshioka, Tokushima University


phone: +81-88-656-7245

address; 1-1 Minami Josanjima, Tokushima 770-8505, Japan