OBJECTIVES • The unprecedented rate of globalization in recent history has wrought many changes in the large array of human cultures and their distribution around the globe. Technological developments in communication, transportation, and media have facilitated the exchange of people and ideas worldwide at a level inconceivable to prior generations, presenting new frontiers in the way we understand different cultures and interact with each other. • As societies and individuals gain exposure to cultures and languages beyond their borders, cultural competence will become an increasingly important aspect of modern education. As laws and social practices become increasingly influenced by the rising culture of identity politics, it is essential to evaluate this movement in relation to cultural competence. The objective of this project is to gain insight into the origins and history of the identity politics movement and evaluate the potential benefits of incorporating a deeper understanding of this sociopolitical movement into teacher training on cultural competence.
JUSTIFICATION • The coursework I completed to obtain my undergraduate degrees in Spanish and Gender Studies, with a concentration in Theories and Politics of Sexuality, equipped me to pursue my own academic research on the topic of education, identity, and cultural competence. Having spent almost two years of my undergraduate experience studying and working abroad in over five different countries, and four years of my post-graduate experience teaching abroad, I became very familiar with issues of cultural competence in education. • I feel compelled to take advantage of my personal experience and academic background in education and culture, and identity to conduct this research on identity politics and cultural competence. Although the fields of Education and Sociology have produced abundant literature on the preceding topics, few studies evaluate or explore the potential of connecting these ideas and applying them to cultural competence in education. • My background allows me to draw on relevant coursework from both my undergraduate studies at the University of Florida and my graduate studies at the Universidad Camilo José Cela to find the academic resources needed to guide my work. By conducting this project, I hope to contribute to the field of Education by providing an analysis of the possible benefits of using identity politics to teach cultural competence.