Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
Web Tools and Search Bar
College Student Personnel program
Advancing Social Justice
In a recent conversation with Dr. Tracy Davis about his new book, Advancing Social Justice: Tools, Pedagogies, and Strategies to Transform Your Campus, he shared why the book was developed, the purpose of the book, and how a professional partnership contributed to the execution of this project.
The book was written in partnership with Dr. Laura M. Harrison, Assistant Professor in the Counseling and Higher Education Department at Ohio University as a result of a conversation he and Laura had at an ACPA conference a few years. At the time Dr. Harrison was Director of the Standford University Women’s Center. “Our shared interest in gender issues, critical theory, and using a compassionate liberatory approach led to the framework for our book on social justice” said Davis, “so when Jossey Bass contacted me about submitting the book proposal, Laura was the ideal choice for a co-author”. Dr. Tracy Davis is currently a Professor in the Department of Educational and Interdisciplinary Studies at Western Illinois University where he also coordinates the College Student Personnel Program. Additionally, he serves as Director of the Center for the Study of Masculinities and Men's Development.
The idea for Advancing Social Justice ultimately grew from the Theory II class Davis has been teaching in the WIU CSP program for the last 15 years. For some time, Tracy had been looking for a book that might parallel and supplement the course curriculum on identity development. Dr. Davis argues, “In this culture, given our Western epistemological perspectives, we’ve focused too much of our attention on the individual unfolding of identity. We need to better capture the complex interaction between self and the stage on which identities are performed. To do this, we need the concepts framed in a social justice perspective, like power and oppression that illuminate the multifaceted, intersectional, and performative nature of identity development.” A fruitless search combined with the feedback from graduate students in the course prompted Davis to put pen to paper. Tracy considered feedback from the students within the program about the class, engaged in discussion about how social justice relates to identity development, and conducted research with students regarding identity performance. Those interactions helped provide a framework for the book. The book was just published this August and feedback from the students in the Theory II class has made it clear that this “gap” is finally getting addressed.
This book is provided as a way for professional and students in this field to remember and understand that they must remain unfinished. Tracy stressed that when it comes to identity we will never fully understand our students’ view so it is best to listen and attempt to be a partner in their journey. These ideas and more can be found in the book Advancing Social Justice: Tools, Pedagogies, and Strategies to Transform Your Campus published in 2013 by Jossey Bass.