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Kimberly Dark

The Daddies is a love letter to masculinity, a kaleidoscope of its pleasures and horrors. The question “Who’s your Daddy?” started showing up in mainstream cultural references during the 1990s. Those words can be spoken as a question, or a challenge, as a flirtation, a joke, or a threat. It’s all about inflection, intention, and who’s asking. Apparently, we have so much shared cultural meaning about “Daddy” the speakers and listeners can simply intuit meaning and proceed to laugh at the joke, or experience the shame, as appropriate. But who is Daddy in American culture? The Daddies aims to find out more than who – but how the process of knowing Daddy can prompt readers to know themselves and their society. This allegory about patriarchy unfolds as a kinky lesbian Daddy/girl love story. Daddy-ness is situated in all people, after all, and we each share responsibility for creating a fairer world. The Daddies can be used as a springboard for discussion in courses in sociology, gender and women's studies, cultural studies, sexuality studies and communication. As a work of fiction, The Daddies can also be enjoyed by general audiences.
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White Bread

Weaving Cultural Past into the Present

Christine Sleeter

“Read it and use it with your students! … Sleeter has provided another breakthrough for critical multicultural research with pedagogical novel … Sleeter provides a synthetic representation that drives at pedagogical insights from the most up-to-date White teacher identity research, sometimes called second-wave White teacher identity studies. Teaching the novel to preservice and in-service teachers provides teacher educators with the opportunity to engage their students in the most recent pedagogical insights from White teacher identity studies.”— Multicultural Perspectives 2016
In White Bread, readers accompany Jessica on a journey into her family’s past, into herself, and into the bicultural community she teaches but does not understand. Jessica, a fictional White fifth-grade teacher, is prompted to explore her family history by the unexpected discovery of a hundred-year-old letter. Simultaneously, she begins to grapple with culture and racism, principally through discussions with a Mexican American teacher. White Bread pulls readers into a tumultuous six months of Jessica’s life as she confronts many issues that turn out to be interrelated, such as why she knows so little about her family’s past, why she craves community as she feels increasingly isolated, why the Latino teachers want the curriculum to be more Latino, and whether she can become the kind of teacher who sparks student learning.
The storyline alternates between past and present, acquainting readers with German American communities in the Midwest during the late 1800s and early 1900s, portraits based on detailed historic excavation. What happened to these communities gives Jessica the key to unlock answers to questions that plague her.
White Bread can be read simply for pleasure. It can also be used in teacher education, ethnic studies, and sociology courses. Beginning teachers may see their own struggles reflected in Jessica’s classroom. People of European descent might see themselves within, rather than outside, multicultural studies. White Bread can also be used in conjunction with family history research.
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Blackeyed

Plays and Monologues

Mary E. Weems

Winner! Emerging Artist Award (Literature) from the 2015 Cleveland Arts Prize (May 2015)

Blackeyed is a collection of plays and monologues. The topics covered in the book include housing and foreclosure, suicide, assault, mental health, the Black male experience, and more. The book intersects with critical race theory because the majority of this work positions race at the center of the experiences of the fictional or fictionalized characters. Embedded in these chapters are the interweaving of personal and ancestral stories, news reports, informal conversations, observations, interviews, and online research expressed in language unapologetically Black, critical, reflexive, and proud.

Blackeyed can be used as a class text in theatre, education, creative writing, communication, women’s studies, sociology, and African American studies undergraduate and graduate courses. It can also be used by theatre practitioners, including actors and directors, working in community, regional and national theatre settings. Individuals including qualitative researchers interested in exploring more affective possibilities or arts-based researchers can also read this collection as an example of methodological exemplar. Finally, anyone interested in the Black experience as well as the specific topics covered in this book can read this collection of plays as one might read a collection of short stories.

" Weems’ resonant poetic voice shines through the characters in bursts of dialect and nuance. Human conflict, racial undertones and the struggle for civil and human rights reverberate. If one were to attempt to connect with a glimpse of the lives of African Americans in this country absent from classroom history books and the limited cinematic mainstream depictions, Blackeyed is perfect starting point. In all of its admitted “messiness”, it provides context, perspective, form and substance. Through it all, the spirit of cultural authenticity is woven through the fabric of these narratives, perhaps unbeknownst to its author, connecting the DNA of the ancestors who planted the seeds of exposition in a griot long before her awareness of their existence. In the Now, they are undoubtedly marveling at the flower that blooms much to the delight of those exposed to its hauntingly tragic beauty." -- Vince Robinson

Dr. Mary Weems exhibits her best writing through monologic and poetic forms in this intriguing collection of short dramatic works about African American experiences. Multiple voices showcase their characters’ struggles, humor, and triumphs through realistic and expressionistic modes. You don’t just “read” her dialogue; you hear it on the page. Weems’ writing styles are fluid, haunting, angry, poignant, and arresting. This is exciting theatrical work by one of qualitative inquiry’s most notable and important voices.” – Johnny Saldaña, Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University, Author of Ethnotheatre: Research from Page to Stage

Mary Weems exemplifies literary arts-based inquiry practice in her new collection of plays, monologues and poems on the Black experience. She mines memory, history and auto/ethnography to craft pieces that are equal parts affective and effective. Affective in terms of their emotional impact and as acts of deep empathy. Effective in the ongoing struggle for social justice, equality and freedom. Weems shows us what risk-taking looks like in creative analytic practice: herwork embodies what Jonathan Lear calls “radical hope” as she insistson an ethical and caring stance in the face of cultural devastation. Read and learn.” – Monica Prendergast, University of Victoria, CoEditor, Poetic Inquiry: Vibrant Voices in the Social Sciences

In this rare and precious work, Mary Weems takes the reader into the lives of myriad human, abstract and material others, who capture our attention and imagination, pulling us into their personal-political worlds. We feel their breath and their blood, their passions and their longings; we know their disappointments, their anger, their love. Weems’s writing does this for us. Tackling urgent social and political issues through/with finely-wrought characters, Weems’ book, in its power and its craft, leaves us changed. Something shifts.” – Jonathan Wyatt, The University of Edinburgh, Author of Always in thresholds, Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, 3, 1, 8-17

It was fantastic, powerful, and intellectually rich. I love the way it connected disciplines; humanities, social sciences. It was a very liberal arts performance with a multidisciplinary perspective.” -- Denison University President Adam Weinberg, on Dr Mary Weems' performance of Black Notes at the DU campus on Martin Luther King Day 2016. (Black Notes is Dr Weems' one-woman play, which features several excerpts from her book Blackeyed).

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Heartland

A Historical Drama about the Internment of German-Americans in the United States during World War II

Lojo Simon and Anita Simons

If you are a teacher, there is much you can draw on. Heartland itself can be used in classrooms from high school on up. It is fairly short, and reads easily… I believe this is a piece of U. S. history that all of us should know. To me, it demonstrates that none of us is safe from xenophobia, but also that our collective memory of imprisoning U. S. citizens continues to be eradicated, even when it’s part of our own family stories. Perhaps if we knew our history better, we would be less likely to repeat it.”— Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita, California State University Monterey
(See the full review at http: //christinesleeter. org/german-american-internment-in-the-u-s-heartland/)
During World War II, the US government confined thousands of Japanese-, German- and Italian-Americans to isolated, fenced and guarded relocation centers known as internment camps. At the same time, it shipped foreign Prisoners of War captured overseas to the US for imprisonment.
Heartland reflects on the intersection between these two historic events through the story of a German-born widow and her family who take in two German Prisoners of War to work their family farm. But the German-American family and the POWs bond too well for the townspeople to accept, and the widow is arrested, interned and eventually suffers a breakdown, which tears her family apart.
Based on true stories, Heartland illustrates what can happen when fear and prejudice pit neighbor against neighbor in times of war. A dramatic tale that grants insights into American history, Heartland is a winner of the Dayton Playhouse FutureFest and a runner-up for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award.
“The story is shocking; for me it was revelatory,” wrote theatre critic Pat Launer. “Deporting our own citizens? Who knew? But the play, while conveying historical information, is not in the slightest didactic. It’s a family story, a tale of survival and acquiescence, of racism, of neighbor against neighbor. Not a pretty picture ….”
While it may be read for pleasure, Heartland also is a useful tool for exposing students to important lessons in history, politics, economics, sociology, psychology, women’s studies and other academic disciplines.
NOMINATED: 2015 Book Award - Midwest Popular Culture Association/Midwest American Culture Association