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What to Read and Watch
May 6, 2022

Rutgers School of Social Work faculty members share recommendations to add to your list.


—Assistant Professor Jacquelynn Duron
THE VANISHING HALF BY BRIT BENNETT
Brit Bennett’s second novel is a real page turner. This story follows the lives of identical twins, Desiree and Stella, who are light-skinned Black women who run away from their small hometown in Louisiana and make very different choices that forever change the course of their lives. Across different generations and from various perspectives, this book beautifully covers issues of identity, racism, privilege, secrecy, colorism, and loss. Once you start reading, you will be captivated, eager to know what happens to each of the story’s characters.


—Teaching Instructor, Assistant Director of Student Affairs, and Newark Campus Coordinator Charles Chear
OUT OF PLACE: SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND MENNONITE MIGRANTS IN CANADA BY DR. LUANN GOOD GINGRICH
From a feminist perspective, Dr. Gingrich examines traditional Mennonites excluding themselves from mainstream society and how social workers work with them in a culturally responsive manner. “Voluntary exclusion” is typically discussed as a theoretical issue, and therefore, Dr. Gingrich is innovative by adding a practice perspective. I relate to Dr. Gingrich’s work as a social worker, as well as someone who grew up in a (more open) Mennonite community.
Adrian Gale
—Assistant Professor Adrian Gale
BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE WITH WILL SMITH
This engaging YouTube original examines actor and musician Will Smith’s journey to improve his physical and mental health. We learn about Will’s upbringing, his personal and professional successes, as well as his failures. I enjoyed learning about Will’s life, and it shows that even very successful people have struggles to overcome.

Rupa Khetarpal
—Assistant Professor of Teaching and Coordinator for the VAWC Certificate Program Rupa Khetarpal
CASTE: THE ORIGINS OF OUR DISCONTENTS BY ISABEL WILKERSON
As someone born and raised within the Indian caste system, I found this to be a thought-provoking book that expanded my understanding of the American caste system, the prevailing inequity and social injustice, and my own positionality within that structure. A must read for everyone!

—Assistant Professor Laura Cuesta
MAID CREATED BY MOLLY SMITH METZLER
Maid illustrates the challenges of a young single mother after she manages to escape an abusive relationship. Through what seems like a research-informed plot, this show highlights how clinical and policy approaches are both crucial to overcome poverty, intimate partner violence, and homelessness among single mothers in America.

Trinay Thomas
—Associate Director of Field Education and Teaching Instructor Trinay V. Thomas
GATHER PRODUCED BY TANYA AGER MEILLIER
This Netflix documentary focuses on chefs and elders within Native American/Indigenous communities who teach community members about the origins of their food and creating opportunities for them to become more acquainted with their foods again as part of decolonialization and stimulating their economy. It was educational, profound, inspiring and uplifting. My hope is that many more seek out this fascinating documentary.

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