Sociological Ruminations

A blog about books (both non-fiction and fiction) that address forms of social inequality associated with race, gender, class, or mental health.

The Ferguson Syllabus: A Reading List on Racial Injustice

I noticed that a group called Sociologists for Justice has formed in response to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Their website says:

We are an independent collective of sociologists troubled by the killing of Michael Brown and the excessive show of force and militarized response to protesters who rightfully seek justice and demand a change in the treatment of people of color by law enforcement.

The events in Ferguson emerge from a nexus of issues that have long concerned sociologists including implicit bias, institutional racism, police brutality, economic inequities and civil rights. Given the urgent need for informed conversations and movement toward solutions, we seek to highlight the systemic and structural nature of the problems brought to the forefront of national discussion as a result of the killing of Michael Brown and other recent police abuses of power. By sharing theory, data and our understanding of history and protest movements, we hope to engage audiences beyond the academy in order to facilitate solutions, justice and equity for people and communities at the margins of society.

A letter written by Sociologists for Justice has been featured in New York Magazine. The group also compiled a reading list called the Ferguson Syllabus.  Here are a few of the selections on the list:

Pulled Over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship (University of Chicago Press, 2014) by Charles R. Epp, Steven Maynard-Moody & Donald Haider-Markel

Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation (NYU Press 2012) by Beth E. Richie

Oppositional Consciousness: The Subjective Roots of Social Protest (University of Chicago Press, 2001) Edited by Jane J. Mansbridge and Aldon Morris

I would also add the following three books to the list:

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color-Blindness (The New Press, 2010) by Michelle Alexander

The Scandal of White Complicity in U.S. Hyper-Incarceration: A Non-Violent Spirituality of White Resistance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) by Alex Mikulich, Laurie Cassidy, and Margaret Pfeil

Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration (University of Chicago Press, 2007) by Devah Pager

Click here to read the entire Ferguson Syllabus


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