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Teaching and Race

How to Survive, Manage, and Even Encourage Race Talk


Irene Murphy Lietz

Teaching and Race: How To Survive, Manage, and Even Encourage Race Talk provides an in-depth interdisciplinary analysis of some common student talk about race, its flavor, character, rhetorical, sociological, psychological and educational development sources, and manageable tools for responding to students. The book recommends an accessible two-step, compassionate listening followed by critical challenges, to make the transformative connection between emotion and evidence. The book helps teachers embrace the moments of difficult conversation, confront student denial (as well as their own), and take advantage of the unique opportunity the classroom provides to advance the students’ anti-racist identity development. Teaching and Race narrates common, sometimes offensive, language in four student interviews that are tied to strong feelings of confusion, denial, guilt, resistance and more. The student interviews help college teachers name and analyze loaded racial discussion so that they can thoughtfully address it in the classroom, rather than feel their only choices are explosive confrontation, gloss-overs or redirection. The book empowers teachers to shift potentially confrontational race talk to open-minded race dialogues that ultimately defuse the shock, sting, alarm and confusion of race talk by well-intentioned but unpracticed voices. The book creates a compassionate but informed moment for teachers, preparing them to confidently raise a critical challenge to misinformation at the moment it arises, and providing a beginning response for the teacher.

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This series welcomes both individually-authored and collaboratively-authored books and monographs as well as edited collections of essays. We are especially interested in books that might be used in either advanced undergraduate or graduate courses in one or more of the following subjects: cultural or multicultural studies and the teaching of writing; feminist perspectives on composition and rhetoric; postmodernism and the theory and practice of composition; “post-process” pedagogies; values, ethics, and ideologies in the teaching of writing; information technology and composition pedagogy; the assessment of writing; authorship and intellectual property issues; and studies of oppositional discourse in the academy, particularly challenges to exclusionary or hegemonic conventions. We also seek proposals in the following areas: the role of autobiography and of identity issues in both writing and writing pedagogy; the influence of social context on composing; the relationship of composition and rhetoric to various disciplines and schools of thought; collaborative learning and peer tutoring; facilitating and responding to student writing; approaches to empowering marginalized learners; the role or status of composition studies within English studies and the academy at large; and the role or status of student writers within the fields of composition and English studies.

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New York, NY 10006

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