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Author: J.E. Sumerau
Who am I? Where did I come from? What is a family? How do families of choice develop?

These questions permeate the pages of Scarecrow wherein a bisexual, nonbinary trans feminine person named Erin seeks to make sense of her life in relation to the places, people, and events she has seen and left behind over time. As the novel begins, Erin tells us that “39 funerals, 35 years, and too many lovers to bother remembering brought me to this point.” From this opening statement, Erin reflects on three-and-a-half decades of experiences growing up working class, white, and queer in the southeastern U.S.; navigating sexual, gender, classed, racial, and religious meanings and relationships; surviving varied types of love, trauma, kindness, and violence; and joining the upper-middle class world of the professoriate. As the novel progresses, she shows us how these experiences intertwine, create opportunities, and leave scars that together fashion who she has become over time and in relation to others.

Scarecrow could be utilized in the teaching of sociology, social psychology, Symbolic Interactionism, narrative, families, gender, sexualities, race, class, geography, biography, Southern Studies, LGBTQIA studies, trauma recovery, courses about aging and the life course, or of course, it could be read entirely for pleasure.
Volume Editors: Jane A. Van Galen and Jaye Sablan
The contributors to Amplified Voices, Intersecting Identities: First-Gen PhDs Navigating Institutional Power overcame deeply unequal educational systems to become the first in their families to finish college. Now, they are among the 3% of first-generation undergraduate students to go on to graduate school, in spite of structural barriers that worked against them.

These scholars write of socialization to the professoriate through the complex lens of intersectional identities of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and social class.

These first-generation graduate students have crafted critical narratives of the structural obstacles within higher education that stand in the way of brilliant scholars who are poor and working-class, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, immigrant, queer, white, and women. They write of agency in creating defiant networks of support, of sustaining connections to family and communities, of their activism and advocacy on campus. They refuse to perpetuate the myths of meritocracy that reproduce the inequalities of higher education. In response to research literature and to campus programming that frames their identities around “need”, they write instead of agentive and politicized intersectional identities as first-generation graduate students, committed to institutional change through their research, teaching, and service.

Contributors are: Lamesha C. Brown, LaToya Brown, Altheria Caldera, Araceli Calderón, Marisa V. Cervantes, Joy Cobb, Raven K. Cokley, Francine R. Coston, Angela Gay, Josué R. López, Rebecca Morgan, Gloria A. Negrete-Lopez, Lisa S. Palacios, Takeshia Pierre, Alejandra I. Ramírez, Matt Reid, Ebony Russ, Jaye Sablan, Travis Smith, Phitsamay S. Uy, Jane A. Van Galen, Jason K. Wallace and Lin Wu.
Author: Shalen Lowell
What if normative gender standards were legally enforced? How would our institutions inform and enforce these rules and regulations? What would be the consequences of failing to comply with gender expression standards? It’s in the midst of this maelstrom that we join Alex, our genderfluid and nonbinary protagonist who, during the thick of their adolescence, must navigate the choppy waters of lust, love, friendship, schooling, loss, and their city’s rigid – and perhaps lethal – gender expectations. In this world, Alex must constantly exchange their true self for safety and compliance, a relentless transaction from which they feel they never will escape. Can they navigate this slippery slope, alongside their patchwork community of friends and allies? Or is arrest and social persecution inevitable?

This novel is an honest and raw examination of queer lives. Gender Optics will illustrate, interrogate, and challenge the harmful products of binary hegemonic systems that all too often push gender variant folks to the fringes of society. While Gender Optics can be read purely for pleasure, it can also be used as supplemental reading for courses in critical theory, gender theory, gender and sexuality studies, LGBTQ studies, intersectionality, and arts-based research.
Author: Patricia Leavy
Twinkle follows Tess Lee and Jack Miller after two years of marriage. Tess is a wildly successful and world-famous novelist. Her inspirational books explore our innermost struggles and the human need to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Jack is a federal agent. After spending decades immersed in a violent world, a residue remains. As they both heal from past trauma, their epic love, fostered by their ability to truly see one another, has brought them true happiness. However, when an anonymous threat is made against Tess’s life, everything changes. Will they learn to lean on each other, or will they fall apart into the darkness? Their friends are along for the ride: Omar, Tess’s sarcastic best friend, who calls her Butterfly; the female president of the United States, who Tess visits regularly to discuss politics and bake cookies; Joe, Jack’s friend from the Bureau, who understands the sacrifices he’s made; and Bobby, Jack’s younger friend, who never fails to lend a calming presence. Twinkle is a novel about the nature of doubt, the struggle to feel worthy of love, the relationship of the small part to the greater whole, and the ways in which love – from lovers, friends, or the art we experience – can help us move from trauma to healing and redemption. Written as unfolding action, Twinkle is a poignant novel that moves fluidly between melancholy, humor, and joy. It can be read entirely for pleasure, selected for book clubs, or used as supplemental reading in a variety of courses in communication, psychology, social work, sociology, or women’s studies/gender studies.
Chapter 6 Black and in Grad School
Author: LaToya W. Brown
In: Amplified Voices, Intersecting Identities: Volume 1
Chapter 14 A Black Girl’s Magic Is Often Her Blues
Author: Angela Gay
In: Amplified Voices, Intersecting Identities: Volume 1
Chapter 4 Confessions of a Single Mother in Academia
In: Amplified Voices, Intersecting Identities: Volume 1
Chapter 3 A Doctoral Odyssey
Author: Travis C. Smith
In: Amplified Voices, Intersecting Identities: Volume 1
In: Amplified Voices, Intersecting Identities: Volume 1
Chapter 8 From the Mekong and Delaware River to the Merrimack River
In: Amplified Voices, Intersecting Identities: Volume 1