Author Archives: Peter J. Taylor

About Peter J. Taylor

Peter Taylor teaches and directs programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He studies the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context as well as innovation in teaching, group process, and interdisciplinary collaboration (see bit.ly/pjtaylor). He is especially interested in conversations with others who are, in diverse ways, "troubled by heterogeneity" (bit.ly/tbhblog)

The Harris Narratives: An Introspective Study of a Transracial Adoptee, by Susan Harris O’Connor

The Harris Narratives: An Introspective Study of a Transracial Adoptee
Susan Harris O’Connor

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This book consists of five autobiographical narratives by Susan Harris O’Connor, a social worker and transracial adoptee. These monologues were developed and performed around the United States in academic, clinical and child welfare settings to wide acclaim over the last sixteen years. They will be of immediate interest to scholars of race, identity, emotional intelligence, adoption, child welfare, as well as clinicians and those directly impacted in families created by adoption. The book will also speak to writers, performers and individuals interested in developing their voice through self-exploration. In her narratives the author explores in depth: the impact of foster care during the first 14 months of her life; her relationship with her unknown birth father; the role of race and racism for transracial adoptees who grow up in white communities; the development of her racial identity and a model derived from these experiences, and the relationships between her different identities or mind constructs, her inner strengths and vulnerabilities, and the outside world. There is a progression one chapter to the next, chronicling greater understanding, deeper reflection, and a developing voice. This is an original and sophisticated exploration of the inner life of a transracial adoptee and the forces that helped shape her life. It is at once a case study and an observation of the human condition with universal appeal.
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Taking Yourself Seriously, 4Hs theme

Vignettes from the book*

(* explanatory audio to be added in due course)

Book Tour for Taking Yourself Seriously

Join the Book Tour for Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research and Engagement by Peter Taylor and Jeremy Szteiter (The Pumping Station, 2012)—a “field-book of tools and processes to help readers in all fields develop as researchers, writers, and agents of change.”

At each “stop” (conference call) on the tour Peter or Jeremy spend 5 minutes to introduce themselves, the key “4Hs” theme, and one of five vignettes from the book:

  • Phases of Research and Engagement
  • Action Research Cycles and Epicycles
  • Making space for taking initiative in and through relationships
  • Four Rs of developing as a collaborator
  • The many Rs of personal and professional development

Then participants are led through a 30-50 minute process involving writing, reflecting, speaking, and listening to make connections with their own work (http://bit.ly/FivePhase).

Sign up to join any conference call on this list or propose to convene an event at another time.*

* Conveners volunteer to find at least five people who will join a conference call at an agreed-on time (9am-9pm, any day, subject to confirmation), then post that time, the skype names or phone numbers of the participants, and their vignette preference.  At the time of the event, the book tour organizers initiate the call (from skype name newssc1) and provide the link to the visuals for the introduction. Afterwards they send the convener a free copy of the book.

Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research and Engagement has been published

A field-book of tools and processes to help readers in all fields develop as researchers, writers, and agents of change

Book cover: Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research and Engagement

A wide range of tools and processes for research, writing, and collaboration are defined and described—from Governing Question to GOSP, Plus-Delta feedback to Process Review, and Supportive Listening to Sense of Place Map. The tools and processes are linked to three frameworks that lend themselves to adaptation by teachers and other advisors:

  • A set of ten Phases of Research and Engagement, which researchers move through and later revisit in light of other people’s responses to work in progress and what is learned using tools from the other phases;
  • Cycles and Epicycles of Action Research, which emphasizes reflection and dialogue to shape ideas about what action is needed and how to build a constituency to implement the change; and
  • Creative Habits for Synthesis of theory and practice.

Researchers and writers working under these frameworks participate in Dialogue around Written Work and in Making Space for Taking Initiative In and Through Relationships. These processes help researchers and writers align their questions and ideas, aspirations, ability to take or influence action, and relationships with other people. Bringing those dimensions of research and engagement into alignment is the crux of taking yourself seriously. The tools, processes, and frameworks are illustrated through excerpts from two projects: one engaging adult learning communities in using the principles of theater arts to prepare them to create social change; the other involving collaborative play among teachers in curriculum planning. A final section provides entry points for students and educators to explore insights, experiences, and information from a wider world of research, writing, and engagement in change.

Authors

Peter Taylor is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he directs the Graduate Program in Critical and Creative Thinking and the undergraduate Program on Science, Technology and Values. His research and writing links innovation in teaching and interdisciplinary collaboration with studies of the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context. This combination is evident in his 2005 book, Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement (University of Chicago Press).

Jeremy Szteiter is a 2009 graduate of the Critical and Creative Thinking program and now serves as the Program’s Assistant Coordinator. His work has centered around community-based and adult education and has involved managing, developing, and teaching programs to lifelong learners, with an emphasis on a learning process that involves the teaching of others what has been learned and supporting the growth of individuals to become teachers of what they know.

Info about purchases

Coming soon… or ready now

Books available through The Pumping Station:

  • Nature-Nurture? No: Moving the Sciences of Variation and Heredity Beyond the Gaps, Peter Taylor (2014)
  • The Harris Narratives: An Introspective Study of a Transracial Adoptee, Susan Harris O’Connor (2012)
  • Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research and Engagement, Peter Taylor and Jeremy Szteiter (2012)