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Race and Class Matters at an Elite College [Hardcover]

Elizabeth Aries
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Price: $78.50 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

September 28, 2008 1592137253 978-1592137251

In Race and Class Matters at an Elite College, Elizabeth Aries provides a rare glimpse into the challenges faced by black and white college students from widely different class backgrounds as they come to live together as freshmen. Based on an intensive study Aries conducted with 58 students at Amherst College during the 2005-2006 academic year, this book offers a uniquely personal look at the day-to-day thoughts and feelings of students as they experience racial and economic diversity firsthand, some for the first time.

Through online questionnaires and face-to-face interviews, Aries followed four groups of students throughout their first year of college: affluent whites, affluent blacks, less financially advantaged whites from families with more limited education, and less financially advantaged blacks from the same background. Drawing heavily on the voices of these freshmen, Aries chronicles what they learned from racial and class diversity—and what colleges might do to help their students learn more.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Amherst College psychology professor Aries breaks new ground with this study of four groups of students (affluent whites, affluent blacks, whites with high financial needs, limited family education, or both and similarly situated blacks) based on online questionnaires and individual interviews. Although the classroom is not absent from this study, the author's focus is on the more personal and social day-to-day experiences of these students, their perceptions of themselves and others through the lenses of race and class, what relationships they build and how they are informed by identity issues. Aries presents the issues students face when coping with class and race differences, and assesses the benefits, if any... gained from racial and class diversity. The author's keen sense that these major themes are revealed in students' specific experiences enlivens and informs (for example, how a student's summer plans are affected by race and class). Fully cognizant of the atypicality of Amherst students, she recognizes that the matters of race and class that students are dealing with on campus were not unique to this institution, [but] are issues being dealt with or avoided throughout the larger society. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"Finally, a case study that skillfully unpacks the problems of race and privilege, the less visible inheritance of social class, and the well-intentioned but unfinished campus efforts at environmental engineering. Elizabeth Aries’ insights and recommendations are as serious and relevant as the vexing challenges our colleges face."
Eugene M. Tobin, Program Officer for the Liberal Arts Colleges Program at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, former President of Hamilton College, and co-author of Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Temple University Press (September 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592137253
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592137251
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,069,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight for Student Life professionals October 6, 2009
"Race and Class Matters at an Elite College" provides great insight into the diverse nature of current students at selective institutions. Elizabeth Aries addresses the range of racial and class combinations. She provides insight into the lives of white students from average means that is particularly useful. Her overall analysis is fair and balanced. I have enjoyed reading the book and I plan to buy additional copies for fellow Student Life colleagues. I am a Director of Multi-Cultural Affairs at Sewanee: The University of the South.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the ride November 8, 2012
First, it's great that someone has taken the time to study this subject. It can be hard for kids who aren't from affluent backgrounds at these schools - most students at these schools are wealthy, especially as they have become harder and harder to gain admission to.
I have two children in NESCAC schools, but they were prepared by attending Northeast (Boston area) elite high schools on partial scholarships. They did fine - they never pretended to be anyone but who they were, and had many friends and got along fine. The goal for our family was always the incredible opportunity they were getting and that was what mattered - we always told them that money doesn't make anyone better than you - they just have more money.
College has been a piece of cake - that whole class thing is watered down. But kids who are struggling should get the help and encouragement they need to "keep their eyes on the prize" and not let anyone make them feel out of place. They probably belong there more than lots of the other kids.
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