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BA Education Culture and Society Applicants’ Summer Reading List

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Fernyhough, Charles 2009 Baby in the Mirror: A Child’s World from Birth to Three

Learn how very young children think even before they can talk in this lovely book written by a father about his child. Drawing on the detailed notes he made during her infancy, Fernyhough uses his daughter’s story to explain how a child’s mind develops before the age of three, tapping into a parent’s wonder at the processes of psychological development in an engaging, child-centered way. It is written with a father’s tenderness and a novelist’s empathy and style.

 

Freire, Paulo. 1972. Pedagogy of the oppressed.

How do learners become ‘woke’? Can teachers help with the process? Whether it’s the iron hands of a dictatorship, the manipulative ways of a capitalist structure, the cruelty of racism or the tyranny of sexism, they all have one thing in common: they are oppressive. One of the strongest points of critical pedagogy is that by attempting to unveil and strike at the root cause of oppression – the consciousness of the oppressors and the oppressed – it offers a teaching and learning model that can, arguably, be used to fight multiple (all?) forms of oppressions.

 

Delpit, Lisa D. 2006. Other people’s children: cultural conflict in the classroom.

This is a thoughtful look at institutional racism in schools. Through her discussions with students and teachers, Delpit has identified a “culture of power” that operates in schools and supports dominant U.S. society. In classrooms where White and middle-class teachers regard minority and low-income students as “other people’s children,” Delpit argues that these teachers repeatedly fail to reveal the rules of the culture of power to students since they are “frequently least aware of — or least willing to acknowledge” (p. 24) the cultural power they hold. As a result, these teachers often impede the academic and social success of “other people’s children” who need to survive in a society that demands fluency in “Standard” English for economic and political success.

 

Kulz, Christy 2017 Factories for learning : making race, class and inequality in the neoliberal academy

Are our schools becoming too strict? ‘Kulz’s brilliant and chilling ethnography of Dreamfields Academy shows that … education itself becomes a factory. Schools do not foster critical intelligence but rather make, shape and discipline young people in the doctrine and dream world of neoliberal capitalism. The book reveals the cruel hopes and authoritarian aspects of a modern urban academy schooling. It left me with a sense of outrage because these black, white and Asian working-class students, and every student for that matter, deserve so much more from education than this. This book outlines with sociological precision and keen attentiveness the shape of that educational betrayal.’ –Professor Les Back

 

Sacks, Oliver. 1996. An anthropologist on Mars: seven paradoxical tales.

This is a great book if you’re interested in special educational needs, especially autism. The book outlines seven medical case histories of individuals with neurological conditions such as autism and Tourette syndrome. Sacks is so empathic and thoughtful about his patients: for anyone who wants to support, teach, facilitate or enable children or young people of any age, his respectful, listening and compassionate approach is inspiring.

 

Venkatesh, Sudhir Alladi. 2008. Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets.
This is a great introduction into why, as potential teachers, social workers, therapists and psychologists, we need to understand that people of all ages are experts on their own lives and the ways in which we can learn from the people we want to help. When Venkatesh walked into an abandoned building in one of Chicago’s most notorious housing projects, he was looking for people to take a multiple-choice survey on urban poverty. Gang Leader for a Day is the fascinating full story of how Sudhir Venkatesh managed to gain entrance into the gang, what he learned, and how his method revolutionized the academic establishment.

 

Jones, LeAlan, Lloyd Newman, David Isay, and John Anthony Brooks. 1997. Our America: life and death on the south side of Chicago.

This book is a great introduction into the power of youth voice. A journalist goes into a housing estate and instead of telling the story for them he gives a camera and voice recorder to two young people he meets there. Set against the stunning photographs of a talented young photographer from the projects, Our America evokes the unforgiving world of these two amazing young men, and their struggle to survive unrelenting tragedy. With a gift for clear-eyed journalism, they tell their own stories and others.