Faculty Books

Thinking with Your Hands: The Surprising Science Behind How Gestures Shape Our Thoughts (2023)

Susan Goldin-Meadow (Psychology and Comparative Human Development)

We all know people who talk with their hands—but do they know what they’re saying with them? Our gestures can reveal and contradict us, and express thoughts we may not even know we’re thinking.
In Thinking with Your Hands, esteemed cognitive psychologist Susan Goldin-Meadow argues that gesture is vital to how we think, learn, and communicate. She shows us, for instance, how the height of our gestures can reveal unconscious bias, or how the shape of a student’s gestures can track their mastery of a new concept—even when they’re still giving wrong answers. She compels us to rethink everything from how we set child development milestones, to what’s admissible in a court of law, to whether Zoom is an adequate substitute for in-person conversation.
Sweeping and ambitious, Thinking with Your Hands promises to transform the way we think about language and communication.


Campus Counterspaces: Black and Latinx Students’ Search for Community at Historically White Universities (2020)

Micere Keels (Comparative Human Development)

In this book, Micere Keels responds to the flood of news coverage skeptical of minority students’ “imagined” campus microaggression and sets out to provide a detailed account of how racial-ethnic identity structures Black and Latinx students’ college transition experiences. Tracking a cohort of more than five hundred Black and Latinx students since they enrolled at five historically white colleges and universities in the fall of 2013 Campus Counterspaces finds that these students were not asking to be protected from new ideas. Instead, they relished exposure to new ideas, wanted to be intellectually challenged, and wanted to grow. In this critique of how universities have responded to the challenges these students face, Keels offers a way forward that goes beyond making diversity statements to taking diversity actions.

Interview in the Chronicle of Higher Education

Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side (2018)

Eve Ewing (Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice)

This book by Eve Ewing (Crown) probes the origins of the faceoff between Chicago communities and city administration over the unprecedented wave of Chicago Public School closings in 2013. Ewing draws on extensive experience as both a teacher and researcher in the South Side neighborhood of Bronzeville to tell a story of systemic racism, inequality, bad faith, and distrust that stretches deep into Chicago history. Ewing reveals that this issue is about much more than just schools. Black communities see the closing of their schools—schools that are certainly less than perfect but that are theirs—as one more in a long line of racist policies. Ewing claims that the fight to keep them open is yet another front in the ongoing struggle of black people in America to build successful lives and achieve true self-determination.


Reviewed by Raquel Jimenez in the Harvard Educational Review

Reviewed by Marilyn Rhames in EducationNext

Reviewed by Andrea Krieg in Teaching Sociology

Reviewed by Nadirah Farah Foley in Contexts

Reviewed by Karla Zaccor in International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education

Review in New York Review of Books

Review in Newcity


Chicago Review of Books: Best Nonfiction Book
Center for Urban Ethnography at Penn GSE: Erickson and Hornberger Outstanding Ethnography in Education Book Award
American Association for Teaching and Curriculum: O.L. Davis, Jr. Outstanding Book Award

Information, Incentives, and Education Policy (2018)

Derek Neal (Economics)

How do we ensure that waste and inefficiency do not undermine the mission of publicly funded schools? Derek Neal’s book introduces readers to what economists know—and do not know—about the logjams created by misinformation and disincentives in education. Examining a range of policy agendas, from assessment-based accountability and centralized school assignments to charter schools and voucher systems, Neal demonstrates where these programs have been successful, where they have failed, and why. Fundamentally, Neal insists that there is no quick-and-easy fix for education policy, but  believes nonetheless that by combining elements from various approaches, economists can help policy makers design optimal reforms.


Reviewed by Michael McPherson in EducationNext

Reviewed by Dennis Epple in the Journal of Economic Literature

The Ambitious Elementary School: Its Conception, Design, and Implications for Educational Equality (2017)

Elizabeth Hassrick (Drexel University), Stephen Raudenbush (Sociology), and Lisa Rosen (Committee on Education)

The challenge of overcoming educational inequality in the United States can sometimes appear overwhelming, and great controversy exists as to whether or not elementary schools are up to the task, whether they can ameliorate existing social inequalities and initiate opportunities for economic and civic flourishing for all children. Drawing on an in-depth study of schools on the South Side of Chicago, Elizabeth Hassrick, Stephen Raudenbush, and Lisa Rosen argue that effectively meeting the challenge of educational inequality requires a complete reorganization of institutional structures as well as wholly new norms, values, and practices that are animated by a relentless commitment to student learning. They examine a model that pulls teachers out of their isolated classrooms and places them into collaborative environments where they can share their curricula, teaching methods, and assessments of student progress with a school-based network of peers, parents, and other professionals. 


Reviewed by Daniel Hamlin in EducationNext

Reviewed by Joyce L. Epstein in Contemporary Sociology

Reviewed by Floyd M. Hammack in American Journal of Sociology

Reviewed by Charles M. Payne Cristina M. Ortiz in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

Causality in a Social World: Moderation, Mediation and Spill-over (2015)

Guanglei Hong (Comparative Human Development)

Causality in a Social World introduces innovative new statistical research and strategies for investigating moderated intervention effects, mediated intervention effects, and spill-over effects using experimental or quasi-experimental data. The book uses potential outcomes to define causal effects, explains and evaluates identification assumptions using application examples, and compares innovative statistical strategies with conventional analysis methods. Applications focus on interventions designed to improve outcomes for participants who are embedded in social settings, including families, classrooms, schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces.


Reviewed by Kenneth A. Frank, Guan Kung Saw, and Ran Xu in Observational Studies

Reviewed by Nianbo Dong and Benjamin M. Kelcey in Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics

Interview in Statistics Views

Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain (2015)

Dana Suskind (Pediatrics)

The founder and director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative, Professor Dana Suskind, explains why the most important—and astoundingly simple—thing you can do for your child’s future success in life is to to talk to them. It is a secret hiding in plain sight: the most important thing we can do for our children is to have conversations with them. The way you talk with your growing child literally builds his or her brain. Parent talk can drastically improve school readiness and lifelong learning in everything from math to art. Indeed, parent–child talk is a fundamental, critical factor in building grit, self-control, leadership skills, and generosity. It is crucial to making the most in life of the luck you have with your genes.


Interview at NPR

Review in Kirkus Reviews