14 Books Published by Rutgers University Press on AALBC — Book Cover Collage

Click for more detail about There Has to Be a Better Way: Lessons from Former Urban Teachers by Lynnette Mawhinney There Has to Be a Better Way: Lessons from Former Urban Teachers

by Lynnette Mawhinney
Rutgers University Press (Jan 25, 2019)
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Winner of the 2020 American Educational Studies Association Critics Choice Book Award​

Teacher attrition has long been a significant challenge within the field of education. It is a commonly-cited statistic that almost fifty percent of beginning teachers leave the field within their first five years, to the detriment of schools, students, and their own career development. There Has to be a Better Way offers an essential voice in understanding the dynamics of teacher attrition from the perspective of the teachers themselves. Drawing upon in-depth qualitative research with former teachers from urban schools in multiple regions of the United States, Lynnette Mawhinney and Carol R. Rinke identify several themes that uncover the rarely-spoken reasons why teachers so often willingly leave the classroom. The authors go further to provide concrete recommendations for how school administrators can better support their practicing teachers, as well as how teacher educators might enhance preparation for the next generation of educators. Complete with suggested readings and discussion questions, this book serves as an indispensable resource in understanding and building an effective and productive educational workforce for our nation’s students.

Click for more detail about Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror by Kinitra D. Brooks Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror

by Kinitra D. Brooks
Rutgers University Press (Dec 07, 2017)
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Searching for Sycorax highlights the unique position of Black women in horror as both characters and creators. Kinitra D. Brooks creates a racially gendered critical analysis of African diasporic women, challenging the horror genre’s historic themes and interrogating forms of literature that have often been ignored by Black feminist theory. Brooks examines the works of women across the African diaspora, from Haiti, Trinidad, and Jamaica, to England and the United States, looking at new and canonized horror texts by Nalo Hopkinson, NK Jemisin, Gloria Naylor, and Chesya Burke. These Black women fiction writers take advantage of horror’s ability to highlight U.S. white dominant cultural anxieties by using Africana folklore to revise horror’s semiotics within their own imaginary. Ultimately, Brooks compares the legacy of Shakespeare’s Sycorax (of The Tempest) to Black women writers themselves, who, deprived of mainstream access to self-articulation, nevertheless influence the trajectory of horror criticism by forcing the genre to de-centralize whiteness and maleness.

Click for more detail about Real Sister: Stereotypes, Respectability, and Black Women in Reality TV by Jervette R. Ward Real Sister: Stereotypes, Respectability, and Black Women in Reality TV

by Jervette R. Ward
Rutgers University Press (Nov 02, 2015)
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From The Real Housewives of Atlanta to Flavor of Love, reality shows with predominantly black casts have often been criticized for their negative representation of African American women as loud, angry, and violent. Yet even as these programs appear to be rehashing old stereotypes of black women, the critiques of them are arguably problematic in their own way, as the notion of “respectability” has historically been used to police black women’s behaviors.

The first book of scholarship devoted to the issue of how black women are depicted on reality television, Real Sister offers an even-handed consideration of the genre. The book’s ten contributors—black female scholars from a variety of disciplines—provide a wide range of perspectives, while considering everything from Basketball Wives to Say Yes to the Dress. As regular viewers of reality television, these scholars are able to note ways in which the genre presents positive images of black womanhood, even as they catalog a litany of stereotypes about race, class, and gender that it tends to reinforce.

Rather than simply dismissing reality television as “trash,” this collection takes the genre seriously, as an important touchstone in ongoing cultural debates about what constitutes “trashiness” and “respectability.” Written in an accessible style that will appeal to reality TV fans both inside and outside of academia, Real Sister thus seeks to inspire a more nuanced, thoughtful conversation about the genre’s representations and their effects on the black community.

Table of Contents:


Introduction The Real Scandal: Portrayals of Black Women in Reality TV
Jervette R. Ward

Chapter 1 Black Women: From Public Arena to Reality TV
Sheena Harris

Chapter 2 Selective Reuptake: Perpetuating Misleading Cultural Identities in the Reality Television World
LaToya Jefferson-James

Chapter 3 Striving to Dress the Part: Examining the Absence of Black Women in Different Iterations of Say Yes to the Dress
Alison D. Ligon

Chapter 4 The Semiotics of Fashion and Urban Success in The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Cynthia Davis

Chapter 5 A Home without Walls, A Family without Boundaries: How Family Participation in Reality Television Impacts Children’s Development
Detris Honora Adelabu

Chapter 6 Where Is Clair Huxtable When You Need Her?: The Desperate Search for Positive Media Images of African American Women in the Age of Reality TV
Monica Flippin-Wynn

Chapter 7 Questions of Quality and Class: Perceptions of Hierarchy in African American Family-Focused Reality TV Shows
Preselfannie E. Whitfield McDaniel

Chapter 8 Contemplating Basketball Wives A Critique of Racism, Sexism, and Income-Level Disparity
Sharon Lynette Jones

Chapter 9 Exploiting and Capitalizing on Unique Black Femininity: An Entrepreneurial Perspective
Terry A. Nelson

Chapter 10 Reunion Chapter: A Conversation among Contributors
Jervette R. Ward

Appendix Reality TV Shows That Prominently Feature Black Women

Notes on Contributors


Click for more detail about On Racial Icons: Blackness and the Public Imagination by Nicole R. Fleetwood On Racial Icons: Blackness and the Public Imagination

by Nicole R. Fleetwood
Rutgers University Press (Jul 15, 2015)
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What meaning does the American public attach to images of key black political, social, and cultural figures? Considering photography’s role as a means of documenting historical progress, what is the representational currency of these images? How do racial icons “signify”?

Nicole R. Fleetwood’s answers to these questions will change the way you think about the next photograph that you see depicting a racial event, black celebrity, or public figure. In On Racial Icons, Fleetwood focuses a sustained look on photography in documenting black public life, exploring the ways in which iconic images function as celebrations of national and racial progress at times or as a gauge of collective racial wounds in moments of crisis.

Offering an overview of photography’s ability to capture shifting race relations, Fleetwood spotlights in each chapter a different set of iconic images in key sectors of public life. She considers flash points of racialized violence in photographs of Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till; the political, aesthetic, and cultural shifts marked by the rise of pop stars such as Diana Ross; and the power and precarity of such black sports icons as Serena Williams and LeBron James; and she does not miss Barack Obama and his family along the way. On Racial Icons is an eye-opener in every sense of the phrase.

Click for more detail about A Kosher Christmas: ’Tis The Season To Be Jewish by Joshua Eli Plaut A Kosher Christmas: ’Tis The Season To Be Jewish

by Joshua Eli Plaut
Rutgers University Press (Oct 24, 2012)
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Christmas is not everybody’s favorite holiday. Historically, Jews in America, whether participating in or refraining from recognizing Christmas, have devised a multitude of unique strategies to respond to the holiday season. Their response is a mixed one: do we participate, try to ignore the holiday entirely, or create our own traditions and make the season an enjoyable time? This book, the first on the subject of Jews and Christmas in the United States, portrays how Jews are shaping the public and private character of Christmas by transforming December into a joyous holiday season belonging to all Americans.Creative and innovative in approaching the holiday season, these responses range from composing America’s most beloved Christmas songs, transforming Hanukkah into the Jewish Christmas, creating a national Jewish tradition of patronizing Chinese restaurants and comedy shows on Christmas Eve, volunteering at shelters and soup kitchens on Christmas Day, dressing up as Santa Claus to spread good cheer, campaigning to institute Hanukkah postal stamps, and blending holiday traditions into an interfaith hybrid celebration called “Chrismukkah” or creating a secularized holiday such as Festivus.Through these venerated traditions and alternative Christmastime rituals, Jews publicly assert and proudly proclaim their Jewish and American identities to fashion a universally shared message of joy and hope for the holiday season.

See also: http://www.akosherchristmas.org

Click for more detail about Dorothy West’s Paradise: A Biography Of Class And Color by Cherene Sherrard-Johnson Dorothy West’s Paradise: A Biography Of Class And Color

by Cherene Sherrard-Johnson
Rutgers University Press (Jan 01, 2012)
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Dorothy West is best known as one of the youngest writers involved in the Harlem Renaissance. Subsequently, her work is read as a product of the urban aesthetics of this artistic movement. But West was also intimately rooted in a very different milieu—Oak Bluffs, an exclusive retreat for African Americans on Martha’s Vineyard. She played an integral role in the development and preservation of that community. In the years between publishing her two novels, 1948’s The Living is Easy and the 1995 bestseller The Wedding, she worked as a columnist for the Vineyard Gazette.Dorothy West’s Paradise captures the scope of the author’s long life and career, reading it alongside the unique cultural geography of Oak Bluffs and its history as an elite African American enclave—a place that West envisioned both as a separatist refuge and as a space for interracial contact. An essential book for both fans of West’s fiction and students of race, class, and American women’s lives, Dorothy West’s Paradise offers an intimate biography of an important author and a privileged glimpse into the society that shaped her work.

Click for more detail about Literary Sisters: Dorothy West And Her Circle, A Biography Of The Harlem Renaissance by Verner D. Mitchell and Cynthia Davis Literary Sisters: Dorothy West And Her Circle, A Biography Of The Harlem Renaissance

by Verner D. Mitchell and Cynthia Davis
Rutgers University Press (Nov 03, 2011)
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Harlem Renaissance writer Dorothy West led a charmed life in many respects. Born into a distinguished Boston family, she appeared in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, then lived in the Soviet Union with a group that included Langston Hughes, to whom she proposed marriage. She later became friends with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who encouraged her to finish her second novel, The Wedding, which became the octogenarian author’s first bestseller.Literary Sisters reveals a different side of West’s personal and professional lives—her struggles for recognition outside of the traditional literary establishment, and her collaborations with talented African American women writers, artists, and performers who faced these same problems. West and her “literary sisters”—women like Zora Neale Hurston and West’s cousin, poet Helene Johnson—created an emotional support network that also aided in promoting, publishing, and performing their respective works. Integrating rare photos, letters, and archival materials from West’s life, Literary Sisters is not only a groundbreaking biography of an increasingly important author but also a vivid portrait of a pivotal moment for African American women in the arts.

Click for more detail about Between Good And Ghetto: African American Girls And Inner-City Violence (Series In Childhood Studies) by Professor Nikki Jones Between Good And Ghetto: African American Girls And Inner-City Violence (Series In Childhood Studies)

by Professor Nikki Jones
Rutgers University Press (Dec 05, 2009)
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With an outward gaze focused on a better future, Between Good and Ghetto reflects the social world of inner city African American girls and how they manage threats of personal violence.Drawing on personal encounters, traditions of urban ethnography, Black feminist thought, gender studies, and feminist criminology, Nikki Jones gives readers a richly descriptive and compassionate account of how African American girls negotiate schools and neighborhoods governed by the so-called "code of the street"ůthe form of street justice that governs violence in distressed urban areas. She reveals the multiple strategies they use to navigate interpersonal and gender-specific violence and how they reconcile the gendered dilemmas of their adolescence. Illuminating struggles for survival within this group, Between Good and Ghetto encourages others to move African American girls toward the center of discussions of "the crisis" in poor, urban neighborhoods.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Bookmarks: Reading in Black and White A Memoir by Karla FC Holloway Bookmarks: Reading in Black and White A Memoir

by Karla FC Holloway
Rutgers University Press (Sep 26, 2006)
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What are you reading? What books have been important to you? Whether you are interviewing for a job, chatting with a friend or colleague, or making small talk, these questions arise almost unfailingly. Some of us have stock responses, which may or may not be a fiction of our own making. Others gauge their answers according to who is asking the question. Either way, the replies that we give are thoughtfully crafted to suggest the intelligence, worldliness, political agenda, or good humor that we are hoping to convey. We form our answers carefully because we know that our responses say a lot. But what exactly do our answers say? In BookMarks, Karla FC Holloway explores the public side of reading, and specifically how books and booklists form a public image of African Americans. Revealing her own love of books and her quirky passion for their locations in libraries and on bookshelves, Holloway reflects on the ways that her parents guided her reading when she was young and her bittersweet memories of reading to her children. reading in children’s rooms, prison libraries, and Negro libraries of the early twentieth century, and that finally reveals how her identity as a scholar, a parent, and an African American woman has been subject to judgments that public cultures make about race and our habits of reading. Holloway is the first to call our attention to a remarkable trend of many prominent African American writers - including Maya Angelou, W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry Louis Gates, Malcolm X, and Zora Neale Hurston. Their autobiographies and memoirs are consistently marked with booklists - records of their own habits of reading. She examines these lists, along with the trends of selection in Oprah Winfrey’s popular book club, raising the questions: What does it mean for prominent African Americans to associate themselves with European learning and culture? How do books by black authors fare in the inevitable hierarchy of a booklist? BookMarks provides a unique window into the ways that African Americans negotiate between black and white cultures. their personal collections and proudly carry cover out.

Click for more detail about “After Mecca”: Women Poets and the Black Arts Movement by Cheryl Clarke “After Mecca”: Women Poets and the Black Arts Movement

by Cheryl Clarke
Rutgers University Press (Nov 22, 2004)
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The politics and music of the sixties and early seventies have been the subject of scholarship for many years, but it is only very recently that attention has turned to the cultural production of African American poets. 
In "After Mecca," Cheryl Clarke explores the relationship between the Black Arts Movement and black women writers of the period. Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks, Ntozake Shange, Audre Lorde, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Jayne Cortez, Alice Walker, and others chart the emergence of a new and distinct black poetry and its relationship to the black community’s struggle for rights and liberation. Clarke also traces the contributions of these poets to the development of feminism and lesbian-feminism, and the legacy they left for others to build on. 
She argues that whether black women poets of the time were writing from within the movement or writing against it, virtually all were responding to it. Using the trope of "Mecca," she explores the ways in which these writers were turning away from white, western society to create a new literacy of blackness.Provocatively written, this book is an important contribution to the fields of African American literary studies and feminist theory.

Click for more detail about The Unedited Diaries of Carolina Maria De Jesus by Carolina Maria de Jesus The Unedited Diaries of Carolina Maria De Jesus

by Carolina Maria de Jesus
Rutgers University Press (Dec 01, 1998)
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Carolina Maria de Jesus’ book, Quarto de Despejo (The Trash Room), depicted the harsh life of the slums, but it also spoke of the author’s pride in her blackness, her high moral standards, and her patriotism. More than a million copies of her diary are believed to have been sold worldwide. Yet many Brazilians refused to believe that someone like de Jesus could have written such a diary, with its complicated words (some of them misused) and often lyrical phrasing as she discussed world events. Doubters prefer to believe the book was either written by Audáulio Dantas, the enterprising newspaper reporter who discovered her, or that Dantas rewrote it so substantially that her book is a fraud. With the cooperation of de Jesus’ daughter, recent research shows that although Dantas deleted considerable portions of the diary (as well as a second one), every word was de Jesus’.But Dantas did "create" a different Carolina from the woman who coped with her harsh life by putting things down on paper. This book sets the record straight by providing detailed translations of de Jesus’ unedited diaries and explains why Brazilian elites were motivated to obscure her true personality and present her as something she was not. It is not only about the writer but about Brazil as recorded by her sarcastic pen. The diary entries in this book span from 1958 to 1966, five years beyond text previously known to exist. They show de Jesus as she was, preserving her Joycean stream-of-consciousness language and her pithy characterizations.

Click for more detail about Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen by Jeffrey C. Stewart Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen

by Jeffrey C. Stewart
Rutgers University Press (Apr 01, 1998)
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Provides a biographical portrait of the football player and Rutgers College graduate who became a world-renowned actor, singer, and motion picture star

Click for more detail about Framing Silence: Revolutionary Novels by Haitian Women by Myriam J. A. Chancy Framing Silence: Revolutionary Novels by Haitian Women

by Myriam J. A. Chancy
Rutgers University Press (Feb 01, 1997)
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Raped and colonized, coerced and silenced—this has been the position of Haitian women within their own society, as well as how they have been seen by foreign occupiers. Romanticized symbols of nationhood, they have served, however unwillingly, as a politicized site of contestation between opposing forces.

In this first book-length study in English devoted exclusively to Haitian women’s literature, Myriam Chancy finds that Haitian women have their own history, traditions, and stories to tell, tales that they are unwilling to suppress or subordinate to narratives of national autonomy. Issues of race, class, color, caste, nationality, and sexuality are all central to their fiction—as is an urgent sense of the historical place of women between the two U.S. occupations of the country. Their novels interrogate women’s social and political stance in Haiti from an explicitly female point of view, forcefully responding to overt sexual and political violence within the nation’s ambivalent political climate. Through daring and sensitive readings, simultaneously historical, fictional and autobiographical, Chancy explores this literature, seeking to uncover answers to the current crisis facing these women today, both within their country and in exile.The writers surveyed include Anne-christine d’Adesky, Ghislaine Rey Charlier, Marie Chauvet, Jan J. Dominique, Nadine Magloire, and Edwidge Danticat, whose work has recently achieved such high acclaim.

Click for more detail about Fear Of Math: How to Get Over It and Get on With Your Life! by Claudia Zaslavsky Fear Of Math: How to Get Over It and Get on With Your Life!

by Claudia Zaslavsky
Rutgers University Press (May 01, 1994)
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Claudia Zaslavsky has helped thousands of men and women understand why math made them miserable. Let her introduce you to real people who, like you, fled from anything to do with math. All of them—White, African American, Asian American, Latino, artist, homemaker, manager, teacher, teenager, or grandparent—came to see that their math troubles were not their fault. Social stereotypes, poor schools, and well-meaning parents had convinced them that they couldnŐt, or shouldnŐt, do math.       Claudia Zaslavsky shows you how the school math you dreaded is a far cry from the math you really need in life (and probably know better than you ever suspected)! She gives a host of reassuring methods, drawn from many cultures, for tackling real-world math problems. She explodes the myth that women and minorities are not good at math. With Claudia Zaslavsky’s help, you can see why math matters and how to get over the math barrier that has been holding you back from your goals in life.