Current Texts

General|Gender|Afro-American|Religion,Ethnicity,Social Class|Homosexuality, Lesbianism, Bisexuality

Sampson, E. E. (1999). Dealing with differences: An introduction to the social psychology of prejudice. New York: Harper Brace. 259 pps.



Baird, Robert M. and Rosenbaum, Stuart E. (Eds.) (1992). Bigotry, prejudice and hatred: definitions, causes & solutions. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 234 pps.

This edited text includes articles from philosophers, theologians, sociologists, and psychologists. It offers short histories of the origins of prejudice, current writings concerning "political correctness" in universities and the effects on curriculum and students, explanations for the persistance of racism, and finally potential solutions. The text appears to be balanced and thorough.



Gudykunst, William B. (1991). Bridging differences; Effective intergroup communication. Newberry Park, CA: Sage, 149 pps.

Gudykunst is an expert in communications. He examines a variety of situations where perceptions of self are inconsistent with perceptions by others. Obviously the fundamental attribution error is at work. He uses a variety of examples from his experiences which include communications misperceptions between a variety of ethnic groups. There are also numerous mini-tests so that students can easily assess where they stand on the skills that he is advocating. The book sometimes seems a bit redundant, but I haven't found anything better to introduce misperception.


Tannen, D. (1990). You iust don't understand. New York: Ballentine, 298 pps.

Tannen's text examines conversational style differences between men and women. She states that she stayed away from gender issues in some of her earlier work, but finally decided to tackle these differences. Whether or not you dispute her observations and linguistic data, you will note that there are definite differences between people in their conversational style. Some students ask their opposite sexed friends to read this text. I believe that it serves as an excellent jumping off place for conversations about gender differences and gender similarities.

Previously Used

Ehrenreich, B. (1983). The hearts of men . New York:AnchorBooks, 182 pps.

Because I incorporate feminist psychology into all of the courses I teach, I thought that I would offer perspectives concerning the lives of men, especially as men's responsibilities were altered in the fifties and sixties. This text describes the various characters that men could adopt and analyzes the ramifications of each. I would not use this text again because I believe that students have not yet truly understood gender/power relationships. At the time that I read it I found the text enlightening.


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Guthrie, Robert V. (1998). Even the rat was white: A historical view of psychology, (2nd Ed).Needham Heights, MA: Allyn&Bacon,

282 pps.

Guthrie first published this text in 1976 pointing out how psychology was presented historically as "white" - the researchers, the research, the history, even the rat. He attempts to set the record straight by including the important work and perspectives of African American researchers as well as the impact of research on African American readers. Contributions by these researchers may surprise many readers. In Guthrie's preface, he comments that after attending a historically black undergraduate university and then moving on to a large southern university he noticed that the contributions of Blacks as well as other minority groups were omitted. His desire is to counter that neglect.

Edwards, A. & Polite, C. K. (1992) Children of the Dream. New York:Anchor Books, 276 pps.

The text begins with the stories of the nine children, now adults, who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. What has happened to them? What has happened to the education and subsequent success of Blacks since the Civil Rights Movement? The text relates the stories of hard work, racism, and personal struggles faced by approximated 40 African Americans. The book offers interview material as well as biography. Frankly I find this text heartening. The newspapers and history texts carry little information to tell us about the origins of various corporations and careers forged for Black Americans: magazines, skin and hair care, television reporting, beauty queens, etc. I stopped using it only because I believe that the text represents too narrow a picture of Black Americans.

Grier, William H. & Cobbs, Price M. (1992). BlackRage. New York, NY:Basic Books (HarperCollins)213 pps.

Black Rage is a reissue of the text by the same name from 1968. The authors state in the introduction to this new issue that they were encouraged to print a new edition because many of the issues have not gone away. Unfortunately, they did not modernize the text. I agree that many topics have not changed, but some of the causes of BlackRage have probably been reformulated in 20 years. I think the written discussion of clinical cases and possible causes being due to the long history of racism lends itself to a worthwhile class discussion. Black students in my course had difficulty accepting the analysis of Grier and Cobbs.




Click here for Readings on Afro-Americans

Rubin, Lillian (1994). Families on the Fault Line. New York, NY: HarperCollins267 pps with notes.

Rubin's predominant research method utilizes in-depth interviews. This particular text, while drawing material from a large number of individuals, focuses a great deal on three families, each representing different ethnic groups. Not only is the material poignant and wonderfully readable, but also the reader gets a real understanding of how many people work hard and yet seem to go nowhere. The text, like other Rubin works such as Worlds of Pain and Women of a Certain Age depicts the thoughts, woes, pleasures, and relationships of men and women and how they are effected by social class.

Previously Used

Rubin, Lillian (1992). Worlds of Pain. New York:Basic Books, 240 pps with notes.

Rubin interviewed hundreds of people in 1972 and repored abou the lives of working class men and women. They describe their personal lives from the perspective of growing up in working class homes as well as their relationships with their current spouses. They discuss their sex lives, their money management, their leisure time, their relationships to their family of origin, their attitude toward child care, women working, and power in marriage. The text is poignant, relevant, and goes to the core of existence of the working class in America.

The forward is compelling because the population is more inclusive and reflects on the past 20 years. In 1992??? Rubin re-interviewed many people from her original sample. She notes that despite how hard they work, their lives seem not to improve. [Some students get caught up in the year of the original study and think the text is now out-of-date or is important only as a historical document, even though Rubin cites minimal changes in the lives.] She also describes how her early sample included only Caucasians. The additional sample of respondents who she garners for the forward include people of other races. She addresses the current vogue of ethnocentricism.

As in all of her texts, Rubin is quite readable.

Holt, H. [ED.](1990)The Life Stories of {Undistinguished} Americans As Told By Themselves, Routledge, London

The title describes the text beautifully. The editor found people who are members of many different ethnic groups and are willing to tell their tales. While the book is highly readable, it does not serve well for a text because there is no analysis. At the same time, some individuals might enjoy reading the book because it offers individual outlooks and students can draw their own conclusions.

Krause, C. A. (1991). Grandmothers, Mothers and Daughters. Twayne 211 pps.

Out of Print. This text, written by a historian, is based on extensive interviews with three female members of the same families. Several years later, the author returned to visit the family and update their stories. All of the families were in the Pittsburgh, PA, area, but lived in different neighborhoods and represented one of three ethnic groups - Jews, Slavs, and Italians - two very different families from each group. As the women provide oral histories we learn of early immigrants, the Americanization of the families, and the adherence to ethnic tradition. Not only does this book sensitize students to a unique research technique, but it also can add an interdisciplinary flavor to a social science course.


Click here for Readings on Ethnicity, Religion, Social Class.

Ford, Michael Thomas (1996). The World Out There. New York, NY: New Press,192 pps.

Ford's guide to being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual and transgendered offers information on corporations, cities, magazines, entertainers, etc., that are gay friendly. He also describes the gay expereince, from figuring out that one is gay, to coming out, to developing relationships, to working for political issues that effect gays such as research for AIDS and HIV positive individuals. I found that many books on gays and lesbians neglected bisexuals. Ford attempts to be even-handed while explaining to the straight world the terms, slang, and descriptions that the non-straight world uses. Many books on gays, lesbians,and bisexuals I found to be "how-to" books or intellectual tomes. The World Out There was the best balance I could find.


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