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Critical Storytelling in Urban Education shares poems and stories written by college students attending Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. The poets and storytellers in this gripping volume address challenges they have faced: issues of sexual abuse, racial politics, cultural identity, stigmatization of marginalized communities, immigration, and other forms of struggle within and outside of urban educational settings. They are students in Education, Communication Studies, Business, and English, among other disciplines. Academic writing has been frequently reserved to professors and doctoral students. This collection is different in that the writing of undergraduate and master students is featured. In a world of unrest, strife, and division, critical stories are sacrosanct.
Undergraduates Share Their Stories of Struggle
Critical stories are more than just anecdotes or tales. They are narratives that raconter, or recount, the author’s own experiences, situating them in broader cultural contexts. Just as the autoethnographer situates the self in relation to the “others” of which the self is both a part and from which it is distinct, the critical storyteller situates his or her story of conflict in relation to the broader reality from which the conflict arises. The key is the reality that is being related and the perspective from which it is being shared.

In Critical Storytelling in Millennial Times, marginalized, excluded, and oppressed people share insights from their liminality and help readers learn from their perspectives and experiences. Examples of stories in this volume range from undergraduate perspectives on financial aid for college students, to narratives on first-hand police brutality, to heartbreaking tales about addiction, bullying, and the child sex trade in Cambodia. Undergraduate authors relate their stories and pose important questions to the reader about inciting change for the future. Follow along in their journeys and learn what you can do to make a change in your own reality.

Contributors are: Ben Brawner, Dwight Brown, Bryce Cherry, Kaytlin Jacoby, Jimmy Kruse, Dean Larrick, Bric Martin, Kara Niles, Claire Parrish, Grace Piper, Claire Prendergast, Alexsenia Ralat, Alec Reyes, Stephanie Simon, S. H. Suits, Katy Swift, Morgan Vogels, and Brittany Walsh.
Finalist for 2019 Lambda Literary Award in Bisexual Fiction!
Finalist for 2019 Bisexual Book Awards in Young Adult Fiction!

Imagine engaging in sexual intimacy with someone you care about for the first time after surviving the loss of a serious, committed, loving relationship. In Palmetto Rose, this is where we find a bi+, gender fluid narrator affectionately called Kid by their loved ones. After five years trying to numb and escape the pain of losing their first love to a tragic accident, Kid begins to wake up, grieve, and try to rebuild their life in Atlanta, Georgia. Through their eyes, we watch as they seek to make sense of grief, pursue the possibility of a college education, and embark on their first serious romantic relationship since they were a teenager. In the process, we spend time with their chosen family of friends who navigate relationships, graduate programs, and developing careers. As the story unfolds, these friends face the ups and downs of early adulthood alongside the ways their individual and shared pasts find voices in their current endeavours, future plans, and intertwined lives. Although many characters in this story originally appeared in Cigarettes & Wine, Homecoming Queens, or Other People’s Oysters, Palmetto Rose may be read as a stand-alone novel.

Palmetto Rose may be used as an educational tool for people seeking to better understand growing numbers of openly bisexual, transgender, and poly people; as a supplemental reading for courses across disciplines dealing with gender, sexualities, relationships, families, the life course, narratives, emotions, the American south, identities, culture, and / or intersectionality; or it can, of course, be read entirely for pleasure.
Intersecting or Colliding Discourses for LGBTQ People?
Every day, we hear how people, organizations, and ideas are moving across borders. We also hear about fairness and justice as fundamental social values. How, though, do these two discourses—one related to internationalization and the other to equity—converge in lived experience? The post-secondary institution is one setting where that question might be asked and people who are minoritized for their gender or sexual identities can provide important answers. While equity-oriented discourses assure LGBT people that they will be free from harassment and discrimination, an internationalization discourse might call them to engage in places where they are illegal. Equity and Internationalization on Campus shares findings from a Canadian study that explored how LGBT or ally post-secondary faculty, students, and staff encountered these two discourses. It offers much to scholars and staff committed to developing an equitable version of internationalization and an international version of equity.
Girls and Young Women Speaking Back through the Arts to Address Sexual Violence
Much has been written in Canada and South Africa about sexual violence in the context of colonial legacies, particularly for Indigenous girls and young women. While both countries have attempted to deal with the past through Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and Canada has embarked upon its National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, there remains a great deal left to do. Across the two countries, history, legislation and the lived experiences of young people, and especially girls and young women point to a deeply rooted situation of marginalization. Violence on girls’ and women’s bodies also reflects violence on the land and especially issues of dispossession. What approaches and methods would make it possible for girls and young women, as knowers and actors, especially those who are the most marginalized, to influence social policy and social change in the context of sexual violence?

Taken as a whole, the chapters in Disrupting Shameful Legacies: Girls and Young Women Speaking Back through the Arts to Address Sexual Violence which come out of a transnational study on sexual violence suggest a new legacy, one that is based on methodologies that seek to disrupt colonial legacies, by privileging speaking up and speaking back through the arts and visual practice to challenge the situation of sexual violence. At the same time, the fact that so many of the authors of the various chapters are themselves Indigenous young people from either Canada or South Africa also suggests a new legacy of leadership for change.

Indigenous Research Rising Up
Looking Back and Living Forward: Indigenous Research Rising Up brings together research from a diverse group of scholars from a variety of disciplines. The work shared in this book is done by and with Indigenous peoples, from across Canada and around the world. Together, the collaborators’ voices resonate with urgency and insights towards resistance and resurgence.

The various chapters address historical legacies, environmental concerns, community needs, wisdom teachings, legal issues, personal journeys, educational implications, and more. In these offerings, the contributors share the findings from their literature surveys, document analyses, community-based projects, self-studies, and work with knowledge keepers and elders. The scholarship draws on the teachings of the past, experiences of the present, and will undoubtedly inform research to come.
An Interpretation of Social and Political Misogyny
Women between Submission and Freedom is a cultural, historical, and spiritual inquiry into the nature of contemporary Eastern and Western society which highlights the gender inequality plaguing contemporary Arabian culture. The author has witnessed first-hand the role of cultural influences in her religion and society. Her analysis begins with personal stories and everyday instances of misogynistic behavior suffered by herself and those around her.
The author delivers an important message about the deception and brainwashing of women in these communities. She bears witness to a culture which has taught women to be submissive and accept the fact that their societal value only exists in relation and deference to men. Whether through direct or indirect pressure, such communities reduce the innate human value of women, at the same time as the patriarchal system reduces them to virtual slavery. This systematic denigration includes not only the misogynistic mentality, but the historical suppression of women’s ideas and creations.
The author explores the portrayal of women in a range of religions that employ gender-based social intimidation under the cloak of religion. The interpretation of these verses is based on the societal values and politics of those who lead and protect the patriarchal system. To them, religion is not an ethos, but a weapon.
A Case of Social Justice
In Zombie Seed and the Butterfly Blues: A Case of Social Justice students from a liberal arts class help Professor Delta Quinn and reporter, Caleb Barthes, uncover the political and corporate story behind the scientific development and implementation of the zombie seed.
As the secrets of the seed are revealed, so are the secrets of Delta’s tragic past which explain her desire to study the sequestered stories of domestic violence, which may lead the reader to ask whether there is a connection between cultural violence and interpersonal violence, and more importantly, whether such knowledge will awaken the zombie in all of us.
Socrates’ oft quoted maxim—the unexamined life is not worth living—speaks to the current image of the zombie who walks through life without critically thinking, without addressing political issues, without participating in civil discourse or democratic entitlements.
Zombie Seed and the Butterfly Blues: A Case of Social Justice is meant to engage the college student, to have students address and discuss issues of relevance to society at large. For example, it can be read in sociology or communication classes that show the documentary “The Corporation.”
Whether in anthropology, business, communication, English, history, organizational communication, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, rhetoric, sociology or women’studies the novel is intended to provide a teaching tool to professors who are looking for new ways to awaken students.
The author is happy to discuss how you can use the book in your courses. Contact her at rpclair@purdue. edu.
Click here to view or download SAMPLE CLASS ACTIVITIES
Award Nomination: Outstanding Book of the Year Award 2013 from the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association
Mixed Race Women Exposing Nuances of Privilege and Oppression Politics
Winner! 2014 “Critics Choice Award” from the American Educational Studies Association (AESA).
Highlighting the words and experiences of 16 mixed race women (who have one white parent and one parent who is a person of color), Silvia Bettez exposes hidden nuances of privilege and oppression related to multiple positionalites associated with race, class, gender and sexuality. These women are “secret agent insiders” to cultural Whiteness who provide unique insights and perspectives that emerge through their mixed race lenses. Much of what the participants share is never revealed in mixed—White/of color—company.
Although critical of racial power politics and hierarchies, these women were invested in cross-cultural connections and revealed key insights that can aid all in understanding how to better communicate across lines of cultural difference. This book is an invaluable resource for a wide range of activists, scholars and general readers, including sociologists, sociologists of education, feminists, anti-oppression/social justice scholars, critical multicultural educators, and qualitative researchers who are interested in mixed race issues, cross cultural communication, social justice work, or who simply wish to minimize racial conflict and other forms of oppression.
Silvia Cristina Bettez teaches about issues of social justice and is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Foundations in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.