Productive Interaction


Bibliography: Spring 2018

This bibliography includes a variety of works educators will find informative, insightful, and challenging, including several important recent histories by scholars Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Nancy Isenberg, Ibram Kendi, and Ned Sublette and Constance Sublette. Their research is based on primary sources. What they reveal slashes the illusion of America as exceptional, as “better” than other nations. The racism that dictated the genocide of indigenous peoples and the ruthless treatment of enslaved men, women, and children is effectively documented while the inhumane stereotyping of the poor by middle- and upper-class Americans contradicts our assertion we are a classless society. Dr. Carl Hart’s study reflects the racism and classism documented in the histories but does so from the contemporary perspective of a former drug addict who is now a neuroscientist and has seen firsthand how crack addiction a couple of decades ago was seen as criminal while opioid addiction today is viewed as a health crisis. Much of what these authors document is gut-wrenching but it also provides a more honest look at our past, helps us understand our present, and paves the way for an acknowledgment that can lead to genuine reconciliation and equity.

Brown, Brene. (2017). Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. Random House. (On the importance of genuine human connection)

Chou, Rosalind and Joe Feagin. (2015). The Myth of the Model Minority: Asian Americans Facing Racism. Routledge. (Stories of 43 Asian Americans that document the multiplicity of ethnic backgrounds and experiences lost in the designation, Asian American)

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. (2017). We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy. One World. (Reprints of Atlantic essays written during Barack Obama’s presidency, with new introductions based on Coates’ post-Obama era reflections)

Connor, Jane and Dian Killian. (2012). Connecting Across Differences: Finding Common Ground with Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime. PuddleDancer Press. (Practices to further compassionate dialogue based on Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-violent Communication principles)

Davis, Angela. (2017). Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine and the Foundations of a Movement. Haymarket Books. (An anthology of essays, talks, and interviews on historical and contemporary oppression by one of the most prominent and politically engaged scholar-activists since she came to public attention in the 1960s)

de las Casas, Bartolome. (2010). A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies. CreateSpace Independent Publishing. (Initially published in 1552, de las Casas recognized the humanity of indigenous peoples and advocated for them in the face of  the oppositional policies of the Catholic Church)

Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne. (2015). An Indigenous People’s History of the United States. Beacon Press. (A detailed history of the policies that governed westward expansion and resulted in the genocide of tens of thousands of indigenous peoples living here; a difficult but necessary read)

Fadel, Leila. (2018). Muslims in America: A New Generation. NPR ( (Analysis by a NPR reporter who spent many years in the Middle East; part of a Diversity in America series produced jointly through NPR and National Geographic)

Fadel, Leila. (2018). How Muslims, Often Misunderstood, Are Thriving in America. National Geographic. (  (See above)

Hart, Carl. (2014). High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self Discovery That Challenges Every Thing You Know about Drugs and Society. Harper. (Insightful memoir as well as scientific analysis of how drugs and drug users are classified by race/ethnicity and class)

Hattie, John and Klaus Zierer. (2018). 10 Mindframes for Visible Learning: Teaching for Success. Routledge. (Results of an analysis and synthesis of over 800 studies of classroom teaching and learning;  counters current ineffectual approaches to closing the achievement gap with research-based factors that do make a difference)

hooks, bell. (2003). Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope. Routledge. (Pivotal feminist author, theorist, and activist who urged feminists to incorporate intersectionality in their studies and activism; on the critical importance of love in classroom teaching as well as in community interaction)

Isenberg, Nancy. (2017). White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America. Penguin Books. (With emphasis on how the attitudes of the middle and upper classes have shaped—and consistently blamed—the poor for their circumstances)

Kendi, Ibram. (2016). Stamped from The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. Nation Books, NY. (A National Book Award recipient; an in-depth chronicle tracing how racist ideas, from Socrates to today’s white supremacists, have morphed to insure white privilege in the U.S. Not an easy read, given the inclusion of multiple primary sources detailing the extremely cruel treatment of enslaved people)

Lerner, Gerda. (2009). Gerda Lerner: Living with History / Making Social Change. University of North Carolina Press. (Essays by this leading scholar and feminist on gender and the struggle to have women’s perspectives and activities included in the study of history)

Meacham, Jon (2018). The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels. Random House. (An analysis of past American crises and their resolutions, suggesting the need to “assert hope over fear” in the current moment.)

Rosenberg, Marshall. (2015). Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life.  (3rd Ed). PuddleDancer Press. (A call to recognize the needs and humanity of those with whom we interact, whether family, friends, colleagues, strangers, or perceived enemies, to make compassion the center of our dialogues)

Sublette, Ned and Constance Sublette. (2016). The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave Breeding Industry. Lawrence Hill Books. (A devastating account of slavery as it was seen by the merchants and “owners” who bought and sold the African people they enslaved, viewing them as property and denying their human identity)