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Alec MacLeod is a Professor in Undergraduate Studies. He received his undergraduate education at Hampshire College where he studied philosophy and fine arts. Alec also holds a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from Stanford University (1983) and has studied information science at the University of California at Berkeley.
His primary areas of preparation are in the studio arts, art theory and information science. He is a practicing visual artist whose work is exhibited nationally. His interdisciplinary creative and scholarly inquires range from explorations of English language colloquialisms to the visual conventions of interfaces and white supremacy.
As an educator, Alec has used participatory collaborative methods of inquiry to explore the ways in which pedagogical approaches can assist learners in examining and changing their assumptions about race and ethnicity. He has trained as a multicultural trainer at Equity Institute and Visions, Inc. A member of a research collective, the European-American Collaborative Challenging Whiteness, he has participated in an inquiry into white identity and ways in which white people can become more aware of their identity and its implications. The group has presented its work at educational conferences and recently authored an article entitled "White on White: Communicating about Race and White Privilege with Critical Humility" in Understanding & Dismantling Privilege: the Journal of the White Privilege Conference.
Alec has over thirty years of experience as a facilitator of learning in higher education as a classroom teacher and as an administrator. He was a member of the design team for the undergraduate cohort based degree completion program and the inaugural director of that program. In addition to his interdisciplinary courses in the Undergraduate program, Alec teaches courses in visual thinking, creativity, and visual culture.
Alec MacLeod has a long-standing interest in issues of communication about and across differences, especially racial differences. He has trained as a multicultural trainer and consultant at Equity Institute and Visions, Inc. A member of a research collective, the European-American Collaborative Challenging Whiteness (ECCW), he has participated in an inquiry into white identity and ways in which white people can become more aware of their identity and its implications.
The ECCW fosters research and learning to develop their understanding about what it means to be a member of the dominant group in society and to translate their growing understanding and expanded awareness into new behavior and action for social change. They have been meeting together since 1997 because they see learning about being white, and working to address racism in themselves, as an ongoing practice. The use of collective authorship under the name of the Collaborative reflects their understanding of the way in which knowledge is constructed. Members came together originally through their association with a cultural consciousness project at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Members are: Carole Barlas, Elizabeth Kasl, Alec MacLeod, Doug Paxton, Penny Rosenwasser, and Linda Sartor.
The group has presented its work at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, the conference of the National Women's Studies Association, the International Transformative Learning Conference, and annually at the White Privilege Conference. It has authored journal articles and book chapters most notably about its concept of critical humility, a strategy for communicating about race, racism, and privilege among white people.
European-American Collaborative Challenging Whiteness (2012). White on White: Communicating about Race and White Privilege with Critical Humility. Understanding & Dismantling Privilege: the Journal of the White Privilege Conference.
European-American Collaborative Challenging Whiteness (2010) White on white: Communicating about race with critical humility. In V. Sheared, S. Brookfield, S. Colin, J. Johnson-Bailey, & E. Peterson (Eds.). Handbook on Race: A dialogue between adult and higher education scholars. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
European-American Collaborative Challenging Whiteness. (2009). Challenging Racism in Self and Others: Transformative Learning as a Living Practice. In J. Mezirow & E.W. Taylor (Eds.). Transformative Learning in Action. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
European-American Collaborative Challenging Whiteness (2005). When first-person inquiry is not enough. Action Research 3, (3), pp. 245-261.
Barlas, C., Kasl, E., Kyle, R., MacLeod, A., Paxton, D., Rosenwasser, P. & Sartor, L. (2000). Cooperative inquiry as a strategy for facilitating perspective transformation. In C. Weissner, S. Meyer, & D. Fuller (Eds.) Challenges of practice: Transformative learning in action. 3rd International Transformative Learning Conference Proceedings. Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, October 26-28, pp. 51-56.
Barlas, C., Kasl, E., Kyle, R., MacLeod, A., Paxton, D., Rosenwasser, P., & Sartor, L. (2000). Learning to unlearn White supremacist consciousness. In T. Sork, V. Lee-Chapman, & R. St. Clair (Eds.) Proceedings of the 41st Annual Adult Education Research Conference. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, June 2-4, pp. 26-30.
Learn more about the Collaborative at www.eccw.org
The Dog Project: Beginning in 2001 Alec MacLeod has been investigating the ways in which dogs are referred to in US English, looking at metaphors, slang, and common idiom. The research is distilled into two products:
A website: The Canine in Conversation: Dogs in Metaphor and Idiom, Illustrated which is an ongoing part of the project.
An essay: Dog as Self and Other: Comparisons to Canines as a Practice of Dehumanization. Language and Ecology 3.1 (2009): 1-15.
The Orange Cone Project is a collaboration between the artists Alec MacLeod and Beijing Charlie, in which MacLeod -as critic Andrew White- critiques Beijing Charlie's large scale installation piece. The short video, "Chaos and Order in Johnson Vermont," satirizes contemporary art criticism.
Project Renga was Alec MacLeod's own undergraduate capstone project. In collaboration with others he created the evidence that the fictitious country of Renga does indeed exist.