Tales of Comfort

I’m so honored and delighted to have my work appearing in this brand new volume from Ethnography and Education, edited by Yaliz Akbaba and Bob Jeffrey.

My chapter, titled “Stealth practice: Early Childhood and Elementary Teachers Supporting Gender Diverse Children in the Context of Right-Wing American “Zoetrope Populism” appears in the first section. The abstract is below.

“Much research on transgender and other gender diverse children suggests that school contexts have the potential for the highest level of trauma and the lowest educational outcomes for that population. In the United States, the Obama administration issued guidance for implementing robust trans protections and inclusion in schools. However, the incoming Trump administration rolled back these protections within a matter of weeks after
taking office. Drawing from an ongoing ethnographic study of the school and home experiences of American gender diverse children ages 3-10, this paper explores their teachers’ stressful and resourceful experiences in the context of post-election right wing ‘zoetrope populism ” (West 2016). Many teachers responded to these stressors
by developing an array of practices designed to support gender diverse children in relative secret. While teachers were certainly afraid of being ‘caught’ providing these hidden supports, they persisted. This chapter presents two examples of supportive, but hidden, classroom practice in just such circumstances. Discussion of teachers’ practice and the transformation of the nature of teachers’ work– as both public intellectuals and
careworkers– in the current political context concludes the chapter.”

Everything we write, every story we tell, is another way we speak truth to power. As Tavis Smiley says, “Speaking truth to power means comforting the afflicted, and afflicting the comfortable.” I hope to provide comfort by telling these stories of teachers and families who themselves provide comfort every day, often at great risk to themselves.

You can learn more about this timely, incisive book, and order your own copy, here: http://www.ethnographyandeducation.org/?page_id=411

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