Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Topics related to social justice can feel overwhelming, this page is meant to help the researcher discover how the topics can be approached for clear conversations. In addition to the books highlighted be sure to use the e-book tools provided. On the last page of this guide we provide ideas for search terms, because the topics can be wide ranging and the language has evolved over time.
Books to Start the Conversation
Backlash by When George Yancy penned a New York Times op-ed entitled "Dear White America" asking white Americans to confront the ways that they benefit from racism, he knew his article would be controversial. But he was unprepared for the flood of vitriol in response. The resulting blowback played out in the national media, with critics attacking Yancy in every form possible--including death threats--and supporters rallying to his side. Despite the rhetoric of a "post-race" America, Yancy quickly discovered that racism is still alive, crude, and vicious in its expression. In Backlash, Yancy expands upon the original article and chronicles the ensuing controversy as he seeks to understand what it was about the op-ed that created so much rage among so many white readers. He challenges white Americans to rise above the vitriol and to develop a new empathy for the African American experience.
Call Number: E185.61 .Y36 2018
Publication Date: 2018-04-15
Caste (Oprah's Book Club) by #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK * LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD * "An instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far."--Dwight Garner, The New York Times The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. NAMED THE #1 NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR BY TIME MAGAZINE AND ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY People * The Washington Post * Publishers Weekly AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review * O: The Oprah Magazine * NPR * Bloomberg * Christian Science Monitor * New York Post * The New York Public Library * Fortune * Smithsonian Magazine * Marie Claire * Town & Country * Slate * Library Journal * Kirkus Reviews * LibraryReads * PopMatters LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN/JEAN STEIN BOOK AWARD AND THE PEN/JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH AWARD FOR NONFICTION "As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not." In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people--including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others--she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.
Publication Date: 2020-08-04
So You Want to Talk about Race by In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy -- from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans -- has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair -- and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend? In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities" in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life. "Oluo gives us -- both white people and people of color -- that language to engage in clear, constructive, and confident dialogue with each other about how to deal with racial prejudices and biases." -- National Book Review "Generous and empathetic, yet usefully blunt . . . it's for anyone who wants to be smarter and more empathetic about matters of race and engage in more productive anti-racist action." -- Salon (Required Reading)
Call Number: E184.A1 O454 2018
Publication Date: 2018-01-16
Stamped from the Beginning by The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society. Some Americans insist that we're living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America -- it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit. In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis. As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation's racial inequities. In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.
Call Number: E185.61 .K358 2016
Publication Date: 2016-04-12
Uprooting Racism - 4th Edition by Over 50,000 copies sold of earlier editions! Powerful strategies and practical tools for white people committed to racial justice Completely revised and updated, this fourth edition of Uprooting Racism offers a framework around neoliberalism and interpersonal, institutional, and cultural racism, along with stories of resistance and white solidarity. It provides practical tools and advice on how white people can work as allies for racial justice, engaging the reader through questions, exercises, and suggestions for action, and includes a wealth of information about specific cultural groups such as Muslims, people with mixed heritage, Native Americans, Jews, recent immigrants, Asian Americans, and Latino/as. Inequalities in education, housing, health care, and the job market continue to prevail, while increased insecurity and fear have led to an epidemic of scapegoating and harassment of people of color. Yet, recent polls show that only thirty-one percent of white people in the United States believe racism is a major societal problem; at the same time, resistance is strong, as highlighted by indigenous struggles for land and sovereignty and the Movement for Black Lives. Previous editions of Uprooting Racism have sold more than 50,000 copies. This accessible, personal, supportive, and practical guide is ideal for students, community activists, teachers, youth workers, and anyone interested in issues of diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice. Paul Kivel is an award-winning author and an accomplished trainer and speaker. He has been a social justice activist, a nationally and internationally recognized anti-racism educator, and an innovative leader in violence prevention for over forty years.
Call Number: E184.A1 K477 2017
Publication Date: 2017-08-28
Witnessing Whiteness by Witnessing Whiteness invites readers to consider what it means to be white, describes and critiques strategies used to avoid race issues, and identifies the detrimental effect of avoiding race on cross-race collaborations. The author illustrates how racial discomfort leads white people toward poor relationships with people of color. Questioning the implications our history has for personal lives and social institutions, the book considers political, economic, socio-cultural, and legal histories that shaped the meanings associated with whiteness. Drawing on dialogue with well-known figures within education, race, and multicultural work, the book offers intimate, personal stories of cross-race friendships that address both how a deep understanding of whiteness supports cross-race collaboration and the long-term nature of the work of excising racism from the deep psyche. Concluding chapters offer practical information on building knowledge, skills, capacities, and communities that support anti-racism practices, a hopeful look at our collective future, and a discussion of how to create a culture of witnesses who support allies for social and racial justice. For book discussion groups and workshop plans, please visit www.witnessingwhiteness.com.
Call Number: ebook
Publication Date: 2010-01-16
Click on one of the e-book links below to access a search box for e-books. Create a list of search terms and experiment using them to search for relevant materials. You may also use the many limiters provided by the search mechanism. Different e-book databases use different limiter systems so you will have to look around on each site. Fine tune your search by selecting additional specific subjects- which many times are already listed after you perform a general search. Some limiters include date range, geographic locations, related subjects.
eBook collection in EBSCOhost This link opens in a new window
Search and view the full text of eBooks in EBSCOhost.
Ebook Central This link opens in a new window
An ebook database with access to 150,000+ fulltext titles.
JSTOR This link opens in a new window
Contains over 30,000 books in the humanities and social sciences.
SAGE Knowledge This link opens in a new window
Hosting thousands of titles, SAGE Knowledge includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content - including scholarly monographs, reference works, and handbooks - making this the ultimate social science digital library for students, researchers, and faculty.
Note: The only sections available for EU students are "books" and "reference."
Oxford Scholarship Online This link opens in a new window
Hosted within Oxford Academic, Oxford Scholarship Online (OSO) provides access to over 16,000 academic eBooks from Oxford University Press (OUP) on their University Press Scholarship Online platform. Check off the "Purchased" filter on the left of the results screen to see all of the titles Eastern has access to in OSO's catalog.
Best Bet Databases
For most topics related to social justice, law, and policing, we recommend the following databases.
HeinOnline Academic This link opens in a new windowHeinOnline Academic includes more than 100 million pages of multidisciplinary content in more than 100 subject areas, including history, political science, criminal justice, religious studies, international relations, women’s studies, pre-law, and many more. With more historical content than any other database, HeinOnline provides access to 300+ years of information on political development and the complete history of the creation of government and legal systems around the world. Among the many databases included, HeinOnline’s journal collection features nearly 2,800 periodicals relating to a variety of subject areas, with all coverage dating from inception to the most currently published issues in most cases.
Criminal Justice Abstracts - Full-text This link opens in a new windowCovering all areas of criminal justice, Criminal Justice Abstracts includes more than 288,000 records with full-text, selected from the most important sources within the discipline; active full-text for non-open access of nearly 200 journals; other full-text coverage includes books, conference papers, reports, etc. Covering all areas of Criminal Justice: corrections and prisons, criminal investigation, criminal law and procedure and police and policing.
JSTOR This link opens in a new windowContains full-text articles from a variety of scholarly journal back-issues from over 2,500 titles.
Sociology This link opens in a new windowFull-text of more than 310 journals in sociology and social work.
Statista This link opens in a new windowStatista is one of the world’s largest statistics portals (1.5million statistics). Access infographs, forecasts, charts/graphs, and 2,500 exclusive Dossiers and industry reports (NAICS codes).
Talking About Race: Helpful Web Resources
- Talking about Race
"Talking about race, although hard, is necessary. We are here to provide tools and guidance to empower your journey and inspire conversation." Focus areas include Race and Racial Identity, Bias, and Being Anti-Racist. From the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
- The 8 R’s of Talking About Race: How to Have Meaningful Conversations
This blog post, updated to reflect recent events, provides guidance for having meaningful conversations about race.
- Race Talk: Engaging Young People in Conversations about Race and Racism
Tips for productive classroom discussions about race, from the Anti-Defamation League.
- Ten Tools for Bold Conversations
Tips for white families to discuss race in America around the dinner table. A partnership of Color of Change, Showing Up for Racial Justice, and Activist Matt McGorry. See also the PDF version.
- Racial Equity Tools Glossary
Key terms are defined, recognizing that "Language can be used deliberately to engage and support community anti-racism coalitions and initiatives, or to inflame and divide them. Discussing definitions can engage and support coalitions. However, it is important for groups to decide the extent to which they must have consensus and where it is okay for people to disagree. It is also helpful to keep in mind that the words people use to discuss power, privilege, racism and oppression hold different meanings for different people. For instance, people at different stages of developing an analysis tend to attach different meanings to words like discrimination, privilege and institutional racism. Furthermore, when people are talking about privilege or racism, the words they use often come with emotions and assumptions that are not spoken."
- National Day of Racial Healing Conversation Guide
Tips on “creating a safe space for people to be authentic and vulnerable, and to pave the way for future conversations.“
- Engage on Racial Equity
Tips from the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge© on how to productively engage in racial justice conversation and work.