Ethnography

Ethnography:
   Lives in Families

FAMILY LIFE

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Black sheep and kissing cousins : how our family stories shape us / Elizabeth Stone

306.85 STONE 1989

Elizabeth Stone interviewed more than 100 people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds and asked them to recount stories from their own family histories. She found that these stories not only impart a sense of belonging and of shared history, but also help us to define ourselves.

Mama : Latina daughters celebrate their mothers / Maria Perez Brown

306.8743 PEREZ 2004

Latina daughters finally have a chance to honor their mothers and inspire readers — by paying homage in Mamá to the strong women who have sacrificed and struggled, laughed and cried, and fought hard to create a better life for their daughters. In Mamá , you will discover the beauty as well as the complexity of the mother-daughter bond. Maria Perez-Brown spoke with Latinas from a variety of nationalities and lifestyles — some are famous, and some not so well known. The women she interviewed include actresses, doctors, filmmakers, as well as such public figures as Cristina Sara-legui, Esmeralda Santiago, Jaci Velásquez, Rosario Dawson, and Celia Cruz. In their own words, these daughters tell us about their relationship with their mothers — and of a bond every woman will recognize. 

The way we never were: American families and the nostalgia trap / Stephanie Coontz

306.8597 COONTZ 1992

The Way We Never Were examines two centuries of American family life and shatters a series of myths and half-truths that burden modern families. Placing current family dilemmas in the context of far-reaching economic, political, and demographic changes, Coontz sheds new light on such contemporary concerns as parenting, privacy, love, the division of labor along gender lines, the black family, feminism, and sexual practice.

MARRIAGE, DIVORCE & RELATIONSHIPS

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From front porch to back seat : courtship in twentieth-century America / Beth L. Bailey

306.7097 BAILEY 1988

"As entertaining as it is informative. Bailey documents sources from Margaret Mead to advertising's hokey hype in her comprehensive analysis of the rituals of American courtship"

CHILDHOOD

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Huck's raft : a history of American childhood / Steven Mintz

305.2309 MINTZ 2006

Underscoring diversity through time and across regions, Mintz traces the transformation of children from the sinful creatures perceived by Puritans to the productive workers of nineteenth-century farms and factories, from the cosseted cherubs of the Victorian era to the confident consumers of our own. He explores their role in revolutionary upheaval, westward expansion, industrial growth, wartime mobilization, and the modern welfare state. Revealing the harsh realities of children's lives through history--the rigors of physical labor, the fear of chronic ailments, the heartbreak of premature death--he also acknowledges the freedom children once possessed to discover their world as well as themselves.

Small strangers : the experiences of immigrant children in America, 1880-1925 / Melissa R. Klapper

973.04 KLAPPER 2007

Children are the largely neglected players in the great drama of American immigration. In one of history's most remarkable movements of people across national borders, almost twenty-five million immigrants came to the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—from Mexico, Japan, and Canada as well as the more common embarkation points of southern and eastern Europe. Many of them were children. Together with the American-born children of immigrants, they made up a significant part of turn-of-the-century U.S. society. Small Strangers recounts and interprets their varied experiences to illustrate how immigration, urbanization, and industrialization—all related processes—molded modern America. Growing up in crowded tenements, insular mill towns, rural ethnic enclaves, or middle-class homes, as they came of age they found themselves increasingly caught between Old World expectations and New World demands. The encounters of these children with ethnic heritage, American values, and mass culture helped shape the twentieth century in a United States still known symbolically around the world as a nation of immigrants.

ADOLESCENCE

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The body project: an intimate history of American girls / Joan Jacobs Brumberg

305.2308 BRUMBER 1998

A hundred years ago, women were lacing themselves into corsets and teaching their daughters to do the same. The ideal of the day, however, was inner beauty: a focus on good deeds and a pure heart. Today American women have more social choices and personal freedom than ever before. But fifty-three percent of our girls are dissatisfied with their bodies by the age of thirteen, and many begin a pattern of weight obsession and dieting as early as eight or nine. Why? In The Body Project, historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg answers this question, drawing on diary excerpts and media images from 1830 to the present. 

Once upon a quinceañera : coming of age in the USA / Julia Alvarez

305.235 ALVAREZ 2007

The quinceañera, the fifteenth birthday celebration for a Latina girl, is quickly becoming an American event. This legendary party is a sight to behold: lavish ball gowns, extravagant catered meals, DJs, limousines, and multi-tiered cakes. The must-haves for a "quince" are becoming as numerous and costly as a prom or wedding. And yet, this elaborate ritual also hearkens back to traditions from native countries and communities, offering young Latinas a chance to connect with their heritage. Writer Alvarez explores this celebration that brings a Latina girl into womanhood, attending the quince of a young woman in Queens, and weaving in interviews with other quince girls, her own memories of coming of age as an immigrant, and the history of the custom itself.

Reviving Ophelia : saving the selves of adolescent girls / Mary Bray Pipher

305.2352 PIPHER 1995

 In the 1990s, therapist, Mary Pipher was becoming frustrated with the growing problems among adolescent girls. Why were so many of them turning to therapy in the first place? Why had these lovely and promising human beings fallen prey to depression, eating disorders, suicide attempts, and crushingly low self-esteem? The answer hit a nerve with Pipher, with parents, and with the girls themselves. Crashing and burning in a “developmental Bermuda Triangle,” they were coming of age in a media-saturated culture preoccupied with unrealistic ideals of beauty and images of dehumanized sex, a culture rife with addictions and sexually transmitted diseases. They were losing their resiliency and optimism in a “girl-poisoning” culture that propagated values at odds with those necessary to survive.   

ADOPTION

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Damaged angels : an adoptive mother discovers the tragic toll of alcohol in pregnancy / Bonnie Buxton

618.3268 BUXTON 2005

Part heartfelt memoir, part practical guide, Damaged Angels recounts Bonnie Buxton's struggles to raise an adopted daughter whom she didn't realize was afflicted with fetal alcohol disorder. Her book also offers guidance to parents who have children with FASD. 

Hole in my heart: a memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption / Lorraine Dusky

362.73492 DUSKY 2015

HOLE IN MY HEART is the compelling story of a mother separated from her child by adoption in the Sixties and the state-imposed secrecy that keeps them apart. Defying convention, Lorraine Dusky reunites with her daughter in the early Eighties when such reunions were rare, and in the process becomes a staunch advocate for reform of America's antiquated adoption system. The author gives an inside look on the emotional turmoil following reunion for both mother and daughter. Dusky, with her award-winning journalism background, deftly weaves in crucial psychological research that places her personal heartbreak in a larger context, and illuminates the hard truths that are at the center of every adoption—loss, guilt, abandonment and an incomplete sense of identity. Her daughter, the adoptee with two families, also speaks of the complications and uncertainties that infuse her life. A birth mother's story you will not forget.

The lost daughters of China : abandoned girls, their journey to America and the search for a missing past / Karin Evans

362.734 EVANS 2000

At once a compelling personal narrative and an evocative portrait of contemporary China, The Lost Daughters of China has also served as an invaluable guide for thousands of readers as they navigated the process of adopting from China. However, much has changed in terms of the Chinese government's policies on adoption since this book was originally published and in this revised and updated edition Evans addresses these developments. Also new to this edition is a riveting chapter in which she describes her return to China in 2000 to adopt her second daughter who was nearly three at the time. Many of the first girls to be adopted from China are now in the teens (China only opened its doors to adoption in the 1990s), and this edition includes accounts of their experiences growing up in the US and, in some cases, of returning to China in search of their roots. 

FOSTER CARE

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Foster girl : a memoir / Georgette Todd

362.73392 TODD 2014

Georgette Todd's mother was shot in the head when she was a small child. Her father was never in the picture and with hardly any available or "appropriate" family members willing to care for Georgette and her baby sister, both girls had no choice but to enter foster care. And that's when life really spun out of control for the Todd sisters. In "Foster Girl, A Memoir," Georgette relives the most traumatic years of her life so to give outsiders an inside, raw and brutally honest look of what happens to homeless children in America when under the state's care. In this unforgettable debut, readers will not only learn how the foster care system works, but will discover what's going on internally when an abused child grows up in a series of stranger's homes and institutions

One small boat : the story of a little girl, lost then found / Kathy Harrison

362.73392 HARRISO 2006

Daisy was five when she first entered Harrison's bustling household. Mother of three children by birth, three by adoption, and a handful of foster kids always coming and going. Harrison had ten children under her roof at any given time. But Daisy was, in many ways, unique. Unlike the parents of most of Kathy's foster kids, Daisy's birth mother wasn't poor, uneducated, or drug-addicted. She just could not take care of her child, and the effects of this abandonment on Daisy were heart-wrenching. 

On their own : what happens to kids when they age out of the foster care system? / Martha Shirk

362.733 SHIRK 2006

On Their Own tells the compelling stories of ten young people whose lives are full of promise, but who face economic and social barriers stemming from the disruptions of foster care. This book calls for action to provide youth in foster care the same opportunities on the road to adulthood that most of our youth take for granted--access to higher education, vocational training, medical care, housing, and relationships within their communities. On Their Own is meant to serve as a clarion call not only to policymakers, but to all Americans who care about the future of our young people.

Walk to beautiful : the power of love and a homeless kid who found the way / Jimmy Wayne

362.73392 WAYNE 2014

Imagine yourself a thirteen-year-old hundreds of miles away from home, in a strange city, and your mom leaves you at a bus station parking lot and drives off into the night with her lover. That's the real life story of country music star Jimmy Wayne. It's a miracle that Jimmy survived being hungry and homeless, bouncing in and out of the foster care system, and sleeping in the streets. He now uses his country music platform to help children everywhere. 

ORPHANS

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

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Called to account : the story of one family's struggle to say no to abuse / M'Liss

362.83 SWITZER 1987

With help from Hale, Switzer offers a first-person "self-exposure," as she calls it, detailing how she and her family confronted their own domestic violence. She describes the abuse her husband, Chuck, suffered as a child, their meeting at college and his physical attacks on her, which began during their honeymoon. After 20 years of abuse, she decided she had "no other choice but to use the system to call him to account," at which point the Switzers and their children began therapy at the Domestic Abuse Project in Minneapolis. They consider the results successful and now work to stop domestic violence by helping others and speaking out on various television shows. Hale comments: "We believe we have something to say to people to help them understand the problem and to acquaint them with available resources and assistance." Written in a simple, straightforward style, this book is effective and compelling. 

SEXUALITY

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Families like mine: children of gay parents tell it like it is / Abigail Garner

306.874 GARNER 2005

A collection of first-person accounts offers guidance and awareness-raising counsel for gay parents and their families, sharing the experiences of children who have experienced the complex political and moral challenges pertaining to alternative family lifestyles. 

Raising Ryland : our story of parenting a transgender child with no strings attached / Hillary Whittington

306.7689 WHITTIN 2015

After they discovered their daughter Ryland was deaf at age one and needed cochlear implants, the Whittingtons spent nearly four years successfully teaching Ryland to speak. But once Ryland gained the power of speech, it was time to listen as Ryland insisted, "I am a boy!" Hillary and her husband Jeff made it their mission to support their child - no matter what. 

She's not there: a life in two genders / Jennifer Finney Boylan

306.7689 BOYLAN 2013

The provocative bestseller She's Not There is the winning, utterly surprising story of a person changing genders. By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Jennifer Finney Boylan explores the territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of family. Told in Boylan's fresh voice, She's Not There is about a person bearing and finally revealing a complex secret. As James evolves into Jennifer in scenes that are by turns tender, startling, and witty, a marvelously human perspective emerges on issues of love, sex, and the fascinating relationship between our physical and intuitive selves. Now with a new epilogue from the author and an afterword from Deirdre “Grace” Boylan, She's Not There shines a light on the often confounding process of accepting ourselves. 

TEENAGE PREGNANCY

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The youngest parents : teenage pregnancy as it shapes lives / Robert E. Coles

305.235 COLES 1997

Robert Coles asks us to shed our preconceptions and listen to the compelling voices of young women and men who are soon to become parents though barely out of childhood themselves. These teenage parents are black, white, and Hispanic; city dwellers and residents of small towns. From conversations with these teenagers, Dr. Coles weaves a subtle yet dramatic narrative that reveals the aspirations and apprehensions of these "youngest parents" whose prospects aren't very promising and whose assumptions aren't always those he, or we, share. Young mothers don't have an easy time ahead of them, but many pregnant teens believe that the babies they carry will lead lives very different from their own, that their babies may find the success that eludes them and may escape the limitations they've suffered. Dr. Coles finds that the fathers' confusion and, sometimes, resentment give way to a deep longing for respect and a desire for a way out of lives limited by poverty and poor education.

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