UW News

May 24, 2019

UW books in brief: Mindful travel in an unequal world, day laborers in Brooklyn, activist educators

UW News


“Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World,” by Anu Taranath, was published in May by Between the Lines.

Recent notable books by University of Washington faculty explore mindful international travel, men seeking work as day laborers, and activist teachers.

Mindful travel, thoughtful engagement in an unequal world

What is it like to travel through parts of the world that are socioeconomically different from home? How can travelers navigate the challenges, opportunities — and sometimes powerful emotions — of respectfully exploring cultures with lower incomes, different cultural patterns and far fewer luxuries?

Anu Taranath, a senior lecturer in the University of Washington Department of English and the Comparative History of Ideas program, explores such questions in her new book, “Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World.” Taranath has led student trips specializing in human rights themes to India, Mexico and other locations, and has her own consulting company on racial equity.

Anu Taranath book events

  • 7 p.m. May 29
    Elliot Bay Book Company
    1521 10th Avenue, Seattle
  • 7 p.m. June 5
    Third Place Books
    17171 Bothell Way NE.

“Many of us want to connect with people unlike us, and we know that’s a good thing — it’s good for our democracy, good for our souls, good for our communities,” Taranath said. “But we’re also not sure how to do so, because of the persistent inequities in race, economics and global positioning.

“And having good intentions and knowing how to connect are two different things.”

The book, she said, is informed by her many travels with UW students and the ways she sees them wrestle with ideas like: What does it actually mean to be global citizens, to be mindful of these inequalities and to act accordingly?

“We often soak in guilt and soak in shame for all that we have, especially if we come from a very privileged background and are going into communities that have little or none of what we have. How could you not feel guilty? How could you not start feeling really uncomfortable?”

“Beyond Guilt Trips” starts at home and takes readers through stories where Taranath — both narrator and a central character in the telling — and students and others are finding their way through that guilt. What happens on the far side of such feelings, she asks. “And what else might we find?”

Her advice? A mix of persistence and humility. “You have to stay in it to get through it — that’s the first thing. We live in an exceptionally distracted time, and whenever there is an uncomfortable moment of feeling we are quick to swipe it away, to move out of it.”

But try to resist that, Taranath advises. And try to understand that “mindful travel in an unequal world isn’t about getting on a plane to go somewhere — it’s about paying attention, and noticing positionality in relation to each other. It’s about understanding that we are all living in a much longer history that has put us in different positions of advantage and disadvantage, and equipped us with very few tools to talk about it.”

Taranath added that these lessons are not only for travel.

Such conversations, she said — about having or not having, or enjoying opportunity or not — “these are not just questions you experience when you are abroad in Nepal or in Honduras. They are questions our students should be grappling with, all the time, here, in the community they are in.”

“Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World” — with illustrations by Seattle-based artist Ronald “Otts” Bolisay, was published in May by Between the Lines.

For more information, contact Taranath at anu@uw.edu

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‘Daily Labors’ explores world of men seeking work daily on Brooklyn street corner

dailylaborsA new book by Carolyn Pinedo-Turnovsky, UW assistant professor of American Ethnic Studies, examines the experiences of African American and Latino day laborers who look for work daily at an intersection of streets in Brooklyn. “Daily Labors: Marketing Identity and Bodies on a New York City Street Corner” was published in April by Temple University Press.

Pinedo-Turnovsky spent nearly three years talking with men seeking work as day laborers. Her book considers them as active participants in their social and economic life, publisher’s notes say.

“They not only work for wages but also labor daily to institute change, create knowledge, and contribute new meanings to shape their social world. ‘Daily Labors’ reveals how ideologies about race, gender, nation, and legal status operate on the corner and the vulnerabilities, discrimination, and exploitation workers face in this labor market.”

For more information, contact Pinedo-Turnovsky at cpt4@uw.edu.

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Activist educators through US history

radicaleducatorsA new book co-edited by two graduates of the UW College of Education doctoral program presents case studies of teacher activism throughout the history of the United States.

Radical Educators Rearticulating Education and Social Change: Teacher Agency and Resistance, Early 20th Century to the Present” was edited by Tina Y. Gourd, who is now an instructor in the College of Education and Jennifer Gale de Saxe, now an instructor at Victoria University of Wellington.

“Through a lens of teacher agency and resistance,” publishers notes states, “chapter authors explore the stories of individual educators to determine how particular historical and cultural contexts contributed to these educators’ activist efforts.”

Several other UW education alumni also contributed chapters to the book; UW education professor Ken Zeichner wrote the foreword. Read an article from the college about the book, which also includes an audio interview. Part of the Routledge Research in Education series, “Radical Educators” was published in late 2018.

For more information, contact Gourd at gourdt@uw.edu.

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Other book notes:

“Postracial Resistance” book honored: Ralina Joseph’s latest book, “Postracial Resistance: Black Women, Media, and the Uses of Strategic Ambiguity” has received the 2019 ICA Outstanding Book award from the International Communication Association. Joseph is an associate professor of communication. She received the award at the association’s 69th annual conference in Washington, D.C. in May. Read an interview with Joseph.

“Jewish Salonica” in Greek: A Greek translation of “Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece” by Devin Naar, UW professor of Sephardic studies and history, was released in mid-March. Naar visited Salonica, Greece, for a book launch event also featuring prominent local scholars. The book was published in 2016 by Stanford University Press. Naar also participated in a series of programs noting the 76th anniversary of the start of deportations of Jews from Salonica to the death camp in Auschwitz. Naar is an affiliate of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies.

Summer reading: New York Times co-chief art critic Holland Cotter listed “Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Abstract,” published by University of Washington Press and written by Harvard’s Philip J. Deloria., among interesting books for summer reading. Sully was a self-taught Dakota Sioux artist and the great-granddaughter of 19th century artist Thomas Sully. The article praises “semi-abstract celebrity ‘portraits,’ which combine a modernist spirit and Native American aesthetics.”

Debunking anti-vaccine myths: Dr. Christopher Sanford, author of “Staying Healthy Abroad: A Global Traveler’s Guide,” debunks 10 common arguments used by anti-vaccine activists in this blog post at UW Press, which published his book in December 2018. Sanford is an associate professor of family medicine and global health with the UW School of Medicine.

“Given the vehemence and organization of anti-vaxxers, their battle with traditional providers will probably continue for the foreseeable future,” Sanford writes. “it is important that those of us who believe in the benefits of vaccines speak our minds. If the pro-vaccine majority are passive, the anti-vaccine minority will determine the national and international tone and policy.”