After an extremely busy spring semester, I did two more New Books in Education interviews with two of my favorite authors, Patricia Leavy on her new book, Spark, and Ali Michael on her award-winning book Raising Race Questions: Whiteness and Inquiry in Education. I thoroughly enjoyed both and have learned a lot from the conversations with Patricia and Ali.
Spark is a highly original novel about an unexpected yet extremely fruitful journey of a sociology professor, Peyton Wilde. Peyton, together with a diverse group of companions, was charged with answering a perplexing question in a five-day seminar held in Iceland. As they worked to address the question from very different perspectives, the experience also transformed each and every one of the team members. This innovative text offers far more than what a typical novel could offer: the author seamlessly incorporates into it a process of social inquiry. Readers can relate to the book on multiple levels. It can be read for fun, for a book club discussion, or adapted as a required text for qualitative inquiry courses in fields such as education, social work, and communication.
Here is the link to the podcast: Spark
In Raising Race Questions, Ali Michael worked with a group of white teachers to inquire about race and schooling. She has masterfully shown to us, how teachers can become more racially competent through asking difficult questions, building inquiry groups, and working on personal and interpersonal reflection. The book offers four guiding principles for teachers to inquire about race and racism: (1) the inquiry aims to make teachers and classrooms more whole than creating fractures; (2) teachers’ and students’ positive racial identity matter; (3) a multicultural curriculum is not sufficient for building an antiracist classroom; (4) racial competence can be learned. These principles are inspiring and helpful for not only teachers, but also all the citizens who care about the issues of equity, inclusion, and social justice.
Here is the link to my conversation with Ali: Raising Race Questions