a Gift to CSUS
l Capital University Journal
Preserving Privilege: California Politics, Propositions and People
(Praeger Publishers, 2001, $42.95)
Teiahsha Bankhead, professor of social work, and co-author Jewelle Taylor
Concerns over California’s changing demographics have some of the
state’s conservatives fighting to protect their status, says Teiahsha
Bankhead. She says efforts to “preserve privilege” can be
seen in a recent series of propositions put before California voters that
constitute a backlash against decades-old civil rights legislation.
The propositions in question are “racially divisive,” Bankhead
says–Prop. 184, the “three strikes” law; Prop. 187,
reducing benefits for undocumented immigrants; Prop. 209, eliminating
state affirmative action; and Prop. 227, restricting bilingual education.
“The reactionary ideas in these ballot initiatives represent an
irrational response by conservatives to the progress and mobility of people
of color, coupled with their anxiety about losing economic ground.”
Bankhead also criticizes the initiative process. “It results in
only wealthy individuals and organizations having the capacity to advance
their causes by misleading the voting public.” In California it
takes $1 million to place an initiative on the ballot and several hundred
thousand more to win, Bankhead says. The book, among other things, details
how much individual organizations gave in support of each initiative as
well as to the politicians who supported them.
After the book came out, Bankhead and Gibbs testified before Congress.
“California is a test ground for the rest of the country,”
Bankhead says. “Similar ‘minority majorities’ are expected
in other border states and the nation is watching how California deals
with its multiple cultures.”
Criminological Theories: Bridging the Past to the Future
(Sage Publications, 2002, $41.95)
Edited by Suzette Cote, assistant professor of criminal justice
What causes criminal behavior? Suzette Cote’s effort to answer that
question features a range of theories on the subject. “I tried to
strike a balance between the traditional and cutting edge theories that
you don’t always see,” she says.
The book also includes a section that addresses the problems with theorizing
in criminology and criminal justice, particularly in the American criminological
enterprise. “I wanted to draw a bridge between criminology and criminal
justice. I’m happy—it runs the gamut.”
The book, a collection of previously published articles about theories of
criminal behavior with introductions and study questions written by Cote,
arose from her need to expose her criminal justice students to criminological
“They’re not used to theory and its place in studying crime
and criminal justice,” she says. “It’s important that
they know why criminals are committing crimes and why it’s necessary
to use different punishment strategies.”
Though the text includes the traditional classic readings found in many
criminology readers, Cote touches on subjects not normally included in criminology
studies such as domestic violence, white collar crime and the Holocaust.
She also looks at modern theories that combine sociological theories with
theories that focus on the relationship between behavior, genetics and environment.
“I thought it was important to include theories that contribute to
progress in the field, even if they’re controversial,” she says.
Instruction in Reading for Spanish-Speaking Students
(Charles C Thomas Publisher, 2003, $63.95)
Elva Durán, professor of special education, rehabilitation and
school psychology, and John Shefelbine, professor of teacher education,
with co-authors Linda Carnine, Elba Maldonado-Colón and Barbara
In a diverse state like California, the odds are that many teachers will
be teaching reading to a child who speaks a language other than English.
Yet, as Elva Durán found, until now there’s been a dearth
of information on how to do it. “There’s nothing out there
on literacy and not a lot on how to teach reading to Spanish-speaking
students,” she says.
So she decided to compile her experience in teaching reading to Spanish-speaking
students into a book – both for teachers and for parents who want
their kids to be able to read in both languages.
The book’s focus is on literacy. It looks at the connections between
listening, reading, writing and speaking. And it features sections on
language development, the transfer of reading Spanish to English and sound
systems that cause confusion.
The material in the book parallels some of the Spanish reading curriculum
she co-authored with others in the field of literacy for Spanish-speaking
“You have to give students the research that’s out there along
with the information you know and have created. You also want to blend
in what you have done,” she says. “Now, with the book, it’s
all right here.”
His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy
(Columbia University Press, 2001, $34)
Joseph Palermo, professor of history
Featuring details from never-before-seen documents, In His Own Right
begins with the assassination of John F. Kennedy and traces Robert F.
Kennedy’s political career from his 1964 election to the Senate
through his presidential campaign, and ends with his assassination in
It is both a political biography and a story about the social struggles
of the 1960s. Joseph Palermo casts Kennedy center stage, shaped by the
times and shaping the agenda of the progressive, peace-minded wing of
the Democratic Party.
“Robert Kennedy was a Democrat who could express liberal, progressive
ideals as few politicians can do today,” Palermo says.
Palermo spent years poring over every Kennedy speech from 1965 on. He
also went through letters between Kennedy and supporters of the most influential
political players of the time—Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar
Chavez, Benjamin Spock, Eugene McCarthy. The book includes extensive excerpts.
Contrary to the generally accepted view that Kennedy turned from hawk
to dove simply to run for president, Palermo found that he opposed escalation
in Vietnam early on. Kennedy gave strong speeches opposing the increase
in troops in 1965, far ahead of most politicians. And he said sending
U.S. troops to Vietnam in the first place—a decision he participated
in—had been a mistake.
In the end, Palermo says, the book is also about the start of a decline
in the Democratic Party. The party ended the 1960s deeply divided over
war and race. And three promising leaders who might have brought it together
and inspired future leaders—John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin
Luther King Jr.—had all been assassinated.
Longman Anthology of Drama and Theater: A Global Perspective
(Addison Wesley Longman, 2000, $71)
Roberto D. Pomo, chair, department of theatre and dance, with co-editors
Michael L. Greenwald and Roger Schultz
In this exhaustive introduction to drama, which has been greeted warmly
by reviewers, all the world is indeed a stage. Between its covers, alongside
core works from the Western canon, are historically neglected plays from
Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
“It’s the first anthology that’s global in nature,”
says Roberto Pomo. “In our great nation we’re so tunneled
in vision—we label anything to do with Latin America or Asia or
Africa as being Third World. But Latin American theater, for example,
is very advanced.”
The 1,808-page tome holds both an expansive historical treatise, detailing
the origins of drama, and an anthology of 58 plays. Pomo painstakingly
sought out international playwrights with track records of successful
publication and consistent quality.
He says he hopes the books will throw open doors to a treasure trove of
“An intelligent reader will peruse it and say, ‘I didn’t
know the theater of Latin America or Africa was so eclectic or so well
developed, with such history,’ and they’ll learn to appreciate
them,” he says. “And maybe some of these plays will be staged.
If a professor or a director says, ‘I’ve never read this from
Chile before, but I want to stage it,’ then the journey has been
Pomo is now at work on another anthology, this one of 20th Century world
(Eraserhead Press, 2002, $14.95)
Doug Rice, professor of English
Calling Doug Rice’s writing “unusual” is a bit like
calling the sun “hot.” Accurate, yes, but it doesn’t
quite capture the point.
Rice writes in fragments, not even attempting to offer a storyline. He
aims for feelings rather than setting. Autobiography is mixed liberally
with religious references and philosophy. He toys mercilessly with the
rules of grammar.
“I don’t write in the normal, usual way,” Rice says,
shrugging. “But I have no choice about that. As I tell my students,
I think the style chooses the writer, the writer doesn’t choose
the style. Actually, I wish I could write in more of a usual way. I enjoy
reading those types of books.”
His latest work, Skin Prayer, has been described by an admiring reviewer
as “a series of mysterious and deeply evocative meditations: erotic,
sacred, tender, grave, profane.”
That’s good enough for Rice, who has a tough time describing the
work himself. He says it includes a retelling of the story of certain
saints, as well as an exploration of Catholicism and gender identity.
“I live my story, in a certain way,” Rice says. “I wonder
and daydream a lot. And as I daydream, I think about things I can’t
find an answer to. Then I write about them, though I don’t ever
reach an answer.”