As students navigate learning and begin to establish a sense of self, local surroundings can have a major influence on the range of choices they make about who they are and who they want to be. This book investigates how various constructions of identity can influence educational achievement for African American students, both within and outside school.
Unique in its attention to the challenges that social and educational stratification pose, as well as to the opportunities that extracurricular activities can offer for African American students' access to learning, this book brings a deeper understanding of the local and fluid aspects of academic, racial, and ethnic identities. Exploring agency, personal sense-making, and social processes, this book contributes a strong new voice to the growing conversation on the relationship between identity and achievement for African American youth.
About the author
Na'ilah Suad Nasir is Associate Professor of Education and African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is coeditor of Improving Access to Mathematics: Diversity and Equity in the Classroom (2006), with Paul Cobb.
"Nasir (education and African American studies, Univ. of California, Berkeley) probes deeply into identity formation through the lens of race, and makes recommendations for using that understanding as a springboard for supporting identity building in a school environment. This book contributes to the ongoing discussion about the relationship between race and education by moving beyond common notions of diversity and sensitivity training, and even of the broader battle for social justice."
—H. M. Miller, Choice
"This provocative book contributes in important ways to understanding the pressing developmental challenges that all young people face as they construct a sense of identity that they can carry across different contexts. Most importantly, Nasir considers the implications of this for teaching and creating optimal learning environments inside and outside of school."
—Marjorie Orellana, University of California, Los Angeles
"Bottom line-this volume represents a unique and important body of work. Nasir stakes out new territory as she describes how identities are shaped through local interactions within and outside of school. By anchoring the discussions around African American youth, she interrogates assumptions that have guided practice and policy about learning and motivation. This book will be a classic in the field."
—Carol Lee, Northwestern University