Student and Professor Hope Book Reviews Increase Scholarly Debate on Anti-racist Literature

Second-year student Kyle Reissner and Professor Gül Çaliskan are hoping a pair of published book reviews will increase scholarly debate involving anti-racist literature.

Reissner, of Fredericton, NB, spent the summer working with Çaliskan, Department of Sociology, on reviews of Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation and How We Get Free, which have been published by Ethnic and Racial Studies—a top journal in the field.

The reviews examine racism, structural inequality, mass incarceration, and police violence, as well as how black feminism has served as a political tool in advancing the rights of black women.

“We want people to see the need for learning and teaching from the two books, and from related works by other black scholars and activists,” Çaliskan said.

“We hope to attract readers to explore the books and use them as resources for raising public awareness regarding the struggles and realities of racism, and the systemic discrimination imposed on black people in America; and on other racialized people elsewhere, including Canada.”

Reissner wrote the first drafts of the reviews and worked on other tasks for a monograph, edited volume, and a journal article.

“I learned a lot just from working with professor Çaliskan,” Reissner said. “She really encouraged me, and if you find somebody that can see your potential it makes a big difference.”

Reissner, who is studying Sociology, said this opportunity offered new insight and perspective to his studies.

“You have a professor and they’re lecturing you all the time, but you don’t really know how they think or necessarily the type of research they do—working with her I got to see how her mind works and the ideas she had,” he said.

“This project has given me a new standard for how I do things. Overall, it was a really good experience.”