Controversies in Affirmative Action
by James A. Beckman, Editor
July 2014, 978pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
3 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-0082-5
$194, £144, 162€, A278
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-0083-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Affirmative action was meant to level the playing field and then disappear.

An engaging and eclectic collection of essays from leading scholars on the subject, which looks at affirmative action past and present, analyzes its efficacy, its legacy, and its role in the future of the United States.

This comprehensive, three-volume set explores the ways the United States has interpreted affirmative action and probes the effects of the policy from the perspectives of economics, law, philosophy, psychology, sociology, political science, and race relations. Expert contributors tackle a host of knotty issues, ranging from the history of affirmative action to the theories underpinning it. They show how affirmative action has been implemented over the years, discuss its legality and constitutionality, and speculate about its future. Volume one traces the origin and evolution of affirmative action. Volume two discusses modern applications and debates, and volume three delves into such areas as international practices and critical race theory.

Standalone essays link cause and effect and past and present as they tackle intriguing—and important—questions. When does “affirmative action” become “reverse discrimination”? How many decades are too many for a “temporary” policy to remain in existence? Does race- or gender-based affirmative action violate the equal protection of law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment? In raising such issues, the work encourages readers to come to their own conclusions about the policy and its future application.


  • Provides the most up-to-date, comprehensive information available relating to the practice of affirmative action in the United States
  • Features contributions and perspectives from fields as diverse as law, political science, history, critical race theory, women's studies, African American studies, sociology, criminal justice, education, and philosophy
  • Offers original research from experts in numerous disciplines
  • Covers major U.S. Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action, ranging from Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) to Fisher v. University of Texas (2013)
  • Includes endnotes with each chapter to facilitate research
James A. Beckman is the first permanent chair of the Department of Legal Studies at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, where he holds tenure and is associate professor. He previously served as professor at the University of Tampa for over a decade. Beckman holds degrees from the University of Tampa, Ohio State University, and Georgetown University. Prior to entering academia, he was an active duty military lawyer who served on the staff and faculty of the United States Military Academy at West Point as well as while on active duty assignment at Fort Meade, Maryland. Beckman also served as an attorney for the United States Department of the Treasury. His published works include five other books, among them ABC-CLIO's Affirmative Action: An Encyclopedia and Affirmative Action Now: A Guide for Students, Families, and Counselors.

Prior to entering academia, Beckman was an active duty military lawyer (Army), serving on the Staff & Faculty of the United States Military Academy at West Point, as well as an active duty assignment at Fort Meade, Maryland.
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