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Research Guides

Non-Fiction A - I

Recommended by: David Goldstein, Faculty UW Bothell, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

"By focusing on everyday people from all ethnic and racial groups, Takaki presents an American history that centers, rather than marginalizes, people of color, immigrants, and other groups. It is a more accurate account of the interdependence of all Americans, and also happens to be written with lively prose.


Recommended by: Courtney Jackson, Student UW Seattle, Department of Global Health

"This book contextualizes the continued civil rights effort within the framework of those who struggled and preserved before. In an era where politicians and citizens are quick to criticize today's movement in comparison to a more comfortable, static, and white-washed version of MLK and Rosa Parks, Theoharis adds context and color to history – allowing today's activists to see their work as a continued and natural extension of that which came before.

Additionally, Theoharis approaches civil rights from an atypical perspective, that of the “polite racism” that defined the North throughout the civil rights era – and which is still evident today, specifically in the northwest. She calls out silence as being as deadly as direct violence in that “such silences are comfortable. It is easier to castigate protesters as “thugs” unwilling to work through the proper processes than for media outlets to hold accountable neighbors and public officials who didn’t listen when they had. It is easier to cast the people who rose up as the problem, rather than focus on the readers who stayed silent for years amidst police injustice and injustice.

This book is easily accessible, highly relevant, and extremely humbling. In a world where things don’t make sense - I think it’s time for us look back at history."


Recommended by: Holly Shelton, Student UW Seattle, English

"This book overviews secular approaches to racism while showing the importance of spiritual responses as well (think 'funds of knowledge'). Yancey shows how individual and structural views respond to racism symptomatically and are still incomplete, leaving blind spots that cause further polarization. Chapter 1 especially would be good paired with other readings to get perspective on different approaches to racism in the US and where these traditions come from. He demonstrates the need to define racism in order to have a meaningful conversation and the difficulty of finding words to talk about uncomfortable topics. A good follow-up would be the Seattle Times project "Under Our Skin" about the different meaning of words to talk about race."



Recommended by: Anonymous, Faculty UW Seattle, English

"This book is a timeless true story about a 12-year-old who was sent to prison for an accidental shooting. While the community where he lived, and a Supreme Court justice, argued he should be hanged, others argued that he could be redeemed. That turns out to be the case. For every throw-away child, thought to be beyond redemption, is a child with equal possibility for good."


Recommended by: Anonymous

"This book is a peer reviewed anthology of articles by practitioners who are working to find solutions to many of our cultural issues. It goes beyond identifying problems into finding solutions. The PR for the book sums says it all:

'This anthology has been designed as a resource for advancing new perspectives, practices and knowledge of the we-space as a group process that brings about distinct forms of individual and social transformation. On the whole, the practices of each we-space lineage engage and co-create our lives from a place of depth and real meeting. This brings forth new insight and collective forms of intelligence that are making new inroads into understanding what it means to come together and participate in the co- creation of our lives, reality and culture.'"


Recommended by: Anonymous
"The book uses abundant research, including examples from Seattle, to show that housing segregation in the United States is the result of decades of deliberate actions by local, state, and federal agencies. Richard Rothstein effectively rebuts the common perception that our segregated communities are simply the result of private decisions by millions of people."

Recommended by: Mary Whisner, Staff UW Seattle, Law Library

"Important work about the federal, state, and local government actions that created the residential segregation we see today. Eye opening."


Recommended by: Anonymous

"This is a collection of essays from a diverse group of writers, including philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore, professor Lauret Savoy, historian Margo Tamez, journalist Richard Louv, and storytelling naturalists Joseph Bruchac III and James Bruchac. Drawing on memories from their own childhoods as well as lessons learned in their work as adults, each writer brings distinct perspectives on the intersection between nature and culture.

Because this book is a platform for diverse voices, it helps us get to the root of how children of all backgrounds experience outdoor play, how difficult this can be in poor and urban areas, and how necessary it is to ensure outdoor time and green space for all."



Recommended by: Kim Johnson-Bogart, Staff UW Seattle, Advancement CFR and English

"examines structural racism in education systems; cuts deep into the fabric of inequity and made me think about uncomfortable truths of our society, of schooling, what happens to our children; I find it necessary for thinking about equity and inclusion to first better understand inequity and exclusion. My daughter, a faculty member at Tufts, is the author."


Environmental Justice


Recommended by: Anonymous

"This book is empirically informed on systemically who gets what, with examples."


Anna Lauren Hoffman, Faculty UW Seattle, iSchool

"Serano has always been at the forefront of thinking about trans inclusion in feminist and other movements and this book is representative of that. I actually first encountered her through her book "Whipping Girl" (which is also great!), but I think Excluded has the potential to speak to a broader group of people interested in the collection you're developing."



Recommended by: Claire Pendergrast, Student UW Seattle, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences

"This book describes how disasters shine a light on the social, racial, and economic injustices that may be masked by the structure and order of everyday life. It tells the story of a flooded hospital in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the need for planning, preparedness, and transparency in the healthcare sector to ensure that community health and safety are prioritized, even during a disaster."

Recommended by: Anonymous

"This book tackles a topic that immigrants must wrestle with -- the pressure to "assimilate" into a new culture -- and uses a wide variety of sources to make an obvious but often overlooked point: that men and women acclimatize themselves to a new culture in different ways. Hyman helps readers to understand how immigrants' experiences in a new country are simultaneously both cultured and gendered."


Recommended by: JoAnne Edwards, Staff UW Seattle, Landscape Architecture

"Prof. Daniel Winterbottom says he has read this book twice. This is a hot topic for Landscape Architects and anyone in the Built Environment."



Recommended by Anonymous

"For anyone who would like to understand more about the empowering effect of programs like Seattle Youth Garden Works and the UW Farm, I highly recommend Illène Pevec’s Growing a Life: Teen Gardeners Harvest Food, Health, and Joy. The author transcribes her face-to-face interviews with 90 youth gardeners participating in twelve different programs across the country. Her goal is to discover how growing food at their school, community center, or non-profit organization affects these teens' health as well as the attitudes, job prospects, and hopes for the future they share. The result is inspirational!"

My brief review above was published in the December 2016 Leaflet for Scholars email newsletter for the Miller Library, Volume 3, Issue 12.

More specifically, Pevec interviews youth of economically, culturally, and racially diverse backgrounds who are involved with gardening programs. Reflecting the cultures, values and priorities of each community, these programs all help these teens grow and develop to their potential in a range of ways. Teens who garden find job opportunities, improved communication skills, health education, a sense of purpose, friendships, and mentoring, along with other benefits."


Recommended by: Kara Schoonmaker, Staff, Jackson School of International Studies

"This plainspoken breakdown of the economic reasons that African American people have a more difficult time entering and remaining in the middle class than people of other ethnicities -- especially Caucasian people -- is a substantive repudiation of harmful, well-worn stereotypes about African Americans. It should be brought up in any conversation about America as a meritocracy."


Recommended by: JoAnne Edwards, Staff UW Seattle, Landscape Architecture

"How other cultures came and settled the Americas, without equity towards the Natives already here, is so sad. I'm descended from the Puritans, so came from Northern European colonialists. But to think how the Native population is now only 2% of the population is truly sad."


Recommended by: Kayode (Kye) Stephens-Terry, Staff UW Seattle, Transportation Services/Sales and Administration

"As a student of color interested in entering the world of corporate America, this was an excellent first-hand account of the author's experience. I found the first-hand account extremely helpful as it was informative but not overly preachy. Also, the author is well accomplished and an excellent role model."


Non-Fiction J - Z

Recommended by: Anonymous

"This book presents the personal narratives of a number of Jewish women, who talk about their struggles to define themselves in their own terms, rather than in terms imposed upon them externally. They talk about the gendered expectations they face and their difficulties with internalized Anti-Semitism, as well as how they have used the tools of psychology to address these difficulties."



Recommended by: Kira Newman, Staff UW Seattle, Housing & Food Services

"Dyson is an incredible writer, and much of his work focuses on race and hip-hop, although this book is a collection of his works. This book helped me understand the impact of racism in tangible, accessible ways, and he uses sarcasm to make bold statements about the state of race in America."



Recommended by: Gita Krishnaswamy, Faculty UW Seattle, Health Services



Recommended by: Sabrina McClimans, Student UW Bothell, Health Studies

"This book is teaching me how to honor the knowledge of those who do not share my same privilege. Through Freire's works I am learning that just because someone may not share the educational experiences that I have, it does not mean that they are any less intelligent than I. Rather, I am learning that they have a separate bank of knowledge than I, and that we can teach each other about the knowledge that each of us possess."



Recommended by: Holly Taylor, Student UW Seattle, Urban Design & Planning

"Good critique of how urban planning and historic preservation policies have privileged the privileged, and thoughtful recommendations about how to address these issues in theory and practice."


Recommended by Devin Mack, Student & Staff UW Seattle, Jackson School

"Arundhati Roy's critique of Western-led neocolonialist globalization contributes greatly to anti-violence movements and intersectional feminisms that are indigenous to the women who seek empowerment."



Recommended by: Kara Schoonmaker, Staff UW Seattle, Jackson School of International Studies

"An eye-opening and disturbing book about the poor quality of public schools for many students in the United States, and the combination of indifference and selfishness that perpetuates the problem. Through accounts of the author's first-hand experiences, and those of many others, this book helps readers to understand one of the ways in which the US offers its citizens deeply unequal opportunities."


Recommended by: Anonymous

"This is a tremendously important book that addresses inequity in all forms. Somebodies and Nobodies introduces "rankism"--"abusive, discriminatory, or exploitative behavior towards people because of their rank in a particular hierarchy". Rank-based abuse underlies, and is far more encompassing, than many other forms of inequity/'isms'—racism, ageism, sexism, able-ism, mentalism, etc. (bullying included). The demise of rankism in all its guises will mark the dawn of something new in human affairs — dignitarian societies. In a dignitarian society, no one is taken for a nobody and, regardless of role or rank, everyone is accorded equal dignity."


Recommended by: Kara Schoonmaker, Staff UW Seattle, Jackson School of International Studies

"As a counterpoint to heart-rending nonfiction accounts of inequity, this book offers a series of how-to's - grounded in research and illustrated with inspiring true stories - that show how much of the good that exists in the world comes from normal, everyday people (not saints or exceptional individuals) who decide to stand up and make a difference for the better."


Recommended by: Deborah, Staff UW Seattle, UW Libraries

"Bayo offers a glimpse beyond the ways our consciousness has been colonized. He speaks about decolonizing consciousness as something far beyond the European colonization that we tend to think of. "Tackling some of the world’s most profound questions through the intimate lens of fatherhood, Bayo Akomolafe embarks on a journey of discovery as he maps the contours of the spaces between himself and his three-year-old daughter, Alethea. In a narrative that manages to be both intricate and unguarded, he discovers that something as commonplace as becoming a father is a cosmic event of unprecedented proportions. Using this realization as a touchstone, he is led to consider the strangeness of his own soul, contemplate the myths and rituals of modernity, ask questions about food and justice, ponder what it means to be human, evaluate what we can do about climate change, and wonder what our collective yearnings for a better world tell us about ourselves. These Wilds Beyond Our Fences is a passionate attempt to make sense of our disconnection in a world where it is easy to feel untethered and lost. It is a father’s search for meaning, for a place of belonging, and for reassurance that the world will embrace and support our children once we are gone."



Soojin Oh Park, Faculty UW Seattle, College of Education

"socioeconomic and racial inequities that perpetuate across generations and how they seep into child and youth development; Promising practices for building collective power to debunk distorted truths about non-dominant communities and transform broken structures of society"


Recommended by: JoAnne Edwards, Staff UW Seattle, Landscape Architecture

"Chapter 13 of this book is about women in non-traditional jobs, in this case, becoming a medical doctor. I gave this book to all the fellow women manufacturing engineers, when I worked at Boeing. Depression is a big topic when you are in a hostile work environment."


Recommended by: Anonymous

"The book describes the "classic" immigrant experience of Eastern European Jews settling in New York at the turn of the 20th century. It helps readers to understand the challenges and perspectives of new immigrants, the lived history of many American Jewish families, and the difficulties that arise for subsequent generations who both are and aren't native in their own home country."



Recommended by: Kira Newman, Staff UW Seattle, Housing & Food Services

"This is one of the first books I read about diversity, equity and inclusion, and it really hits home about not only race and racism, but gets to some of the deeper components of how it impacts community--and more specifically, the ways that self-segregation (as the title suggests) are often a form of survival. Tatum's writing packs a punch, and makes you really think about how you show up in community, and once you read it, you can't un-see the points she makes in your day to day life."



Recommended by: Anonymous

"This book is a truly comprehensive source that will help readers to understand what it was like to be a poor immigrant settling in New York at the turn of the 20th century. It chronicles new Jewish Americans' challenges-- the toll taken by poverty and poor living conditions --but also how this community organized and advocated to enact positive changes. This book will help readers to understand the history of America's largest city and the current shape of the American Jewish community."


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