Letting Go of Literary Whiteness: Anti-racist Literature Instruction for White Students to Receive AACTE Outstanding Book Award

Feb 16, 2022
2022 Award Recipient Letting Go of Literary Whiteness: Anti-racist Literature Instruction for White Students Outstanding Book Award

(February 16, 2022, Washington, D.C.) – AACTE (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education) today announced that Letting Go of Literary Whiteness: Anti-racist Literature Instruction for White Students, coauthored by Carlin Borsheim-Black, Ph.D., and Sophia Tatiana Sarigianides, Ph.D., is the winner of the 2022 AACTE Outstanding Book Award. This annual award recognizes a book that makes a significant contribution to the knowledge base of educator preparation or teaching and learning with implications for educator preparation. Sponsored by the AACTE Committee on Research and Dissemination, the award is given to a book that is well-written and offers a fresh lens on current assumptions or practices, reorients thinking in the field, and shows potential for significant impact on policy or practice in educator preparation. The authors will be recognized formally with the award at the AACTE 74th Annual Meeting on March 4.

In their frank discussion, the authors draw upon experiences from their own and others’ classrooms to give discipline-specific practices for implementing anti-racist literature instruction in White-dominant schools. Some of the topics this book examines include designing literature-based units that emphasize racial literacy, selecting literature that highlights voices of color, analyzing Whiteness in canonical literature, examining texts through a critical race lens, managing challenges of race talk, and designing formative assessments for racial literacy and identity growth. Letting Go of Literary Whiteness: Anti-racist Literature Instruction for White Students, published by Teachers College Press in 2019, was also nominated for the Grawemeyer Award for Education (2020).

Borsheim-Black is a professor of English education at Central Michigan University. She is a past winner of the Central Michigan University Excellence in Teaching Award (2016) and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Michigan Council of the Teachers of English and as a co-editor of the Michigan Reading Journal.

Interim Dean Marcy Taylor at the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Central Michigan University stated, “Where was this resource when I faced a roomful of middle school students in my predominantly White hometown and tried to make sense of To Kill a Mockingbird with them? Or a roomful of White (and almost always female) elementary education majors learning how to build equitable, inclusive literacy classrooms? The structure of each chapter leads teachers through identifying problems of practice; learning about threshold race concepts that open up the problem; examining resources and research-based methods of antiracist literary pedagogy; and applying those practices to actual texts and scenarios in the classroom. This text is important, especially now, as teachers face political pressure to ignore the history of racism in the U.S.”

Sarigianides is a professor of English education at Westfield State University. She has earned multiple teaching and scholarship awards on her campus, including three Campus Scholarship Showcase awards, a Campus Teaching Showcase award, and a Semester Time Award for Research & Scholarship. She just finished serving her term on the English Language Arts Teacher Educators (ELATE) Executive Council.

“Westfield State University applauds the thought-provoking and ground-breaking work of our esteemed faculty member, Dr. Sophia Sarigianides, and her colleague, Dr. Carlin Borsheim-Black, in Letting Go of Literary Whiteness,” said Linda Thompson, DrPH, MPH, RN, FAAN President, Westfield State University. “This publication addresses a critical need in the instruction of young individuals from an unbiased platform and will serve as a valuable resource for progressive educators.”

The 26th annual AACTE Awards Program honors member institutions and individuals who have made bold, extraordinary, and innovative contributions to the profession of teacher education.

Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE’s president and chief executive officer, said, “Letting Go of Literary Whiteness: Anti-racist Literature Instruction for White Students exemplifies the importance of anti-racist instruction in our classrooms. I’m excited to recognize Drs. Carlin Borsheim-Black and Sophia Tatiana Sarigianides for their thought-provoking book at the 74th Annual Meeting.”