Youth Studies Professor Showcases Latest Book in Panel Discussion

Youth Studies Professors Dr. Zeller-Berkman and Dr. Bishop discuss race and justice with outside scholars Damaris Dunn and Dr. Barrales during panel discussion

Students, faculty, and alumni of the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) gathered in April for a dynamic panel discussion centered around Youth Studies professor Dr. Elizabeth Bishop’s recently published book, Whiting Out: Writing on Vulnerability, Racism and Repair.

During the event, entitled “Go For Broke: Visions of New Solidarities,” Dr. Bishop read from her book and lead a panel that featured Dr. Sarah Zeller-Berkman, academic director of the CUNY SPS Youth Studies programs, as well as fellow scholar-activists Dr. Wendy Barrales and Damaris Dunn. Throughout the talk, panelists explored ideas about innovative pathways and critical youth development explored in Dr. Bishop’s book.

The evening began with Dr. Zeller-Berkman’s opening remarks and introductions to Dr. Bishop, a noted educator, researcher, writer, and youth advocate, and the two outside panelists. Dr. Barrales is an Ethnic Studies teacher, scholar-activist, and founder of the WOCArchive who works to center her immigrant family’s stories in her research, community organizing, and classroom. Damaris Dunn is a scholar pursuing her doctorate at the University of Georgia. Her research interests are educational equity and Black girl joy.

Following these introductions, Dr. Bishop then took the stage to read from Whiting Out: Writing on Vulnerability, Racism and Repair, an experimental text that seeks to collapse the space that white writers create between themselves and their ideas when writing about race, identity, history, responsibility, positionality, power and the present.

As she noted, much of Whiting Out grounds itself in the writings of James Baldwin and Gloria AnzaldúaI. Explaining her close connection to Baldwin’s work, Dr. Bishop said, “I read Baldwin at a redemption crossroads—recognizing repair and what feels like a constant struggle. He taught me that this is why we must love each other fearlessly to survive.”

Later in the conversation, Dr. Bishop tied her philosophy to her work as a teacher in the Youth Studies program at CUNY SPS. “Sarah [Dr. Zeller-Berkman] was like, ‘let us be youth developers,’” Dr. Bishop said. “I think in the youth development world, there is a spaciousness. We have people in this room who ran capstones on black youth worker burn out. They are asking critical questions the community needs to ask.”

Reflecting upon the event afterwards, Dr. Zeller-Berkman noted, “Youth Studies is thrilled to celebrate Dr. Bishop’s latest book release and I was delighted to be in conversations with Bishop and the impressive panel of scholars she assembled to speak back to her work.” She continued, “The enthusiasm of the audience was palpable, and the chat from the livestream was so dynamic. This all was clearly a testimony to the beloved status Dr. Bishop holds in our Youth Studies’ community. We are all grateful to Dr. Bishop for her scholarly contributions as well as her deep love and respect for our students, educators, youth-workers, young people, and our field.”

For more insight into Dr. Bishop’s book and research, please read her Q&A on the CUNY SPS blog.

Whiting Out: Writing on Vulnerability, Racism and Repair is available for purchase on the publisher’s website. 

About the CUNY SPS Youth Studies Program

The CUNY SPS MA in Youth Studies, the first program of its kind in New York, was established in 2017, and the BA in Youth Studies was launched in Fall 2022. These programs, along with the Advanced Certificate in Youth Studies, aim to support the needs of individuals ages 12 to 24 by training qualified frontline youth workers, directors, and administrators. In addition to offering a high-quality degree, the youth studies program has a research agenda that uses youth-adult partnerships and a critical participatory action research approach to inform youth policy and practice in NYC. Current projects include collaborations with ACS and DOE and Amplify, a set of new and innovative research tools designed to engage young people in city-wide policy-making and drive local action.

About the CUNY School of Professional Studies

As New York's leading online school since 2006, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) offers the most online bachelor's and master's degree options at the City University of New York, and serves as the University's first undergraduate all-transfer college. With 26 degrees and numerous other non-degree and grant-funded workplace learning programs, CUNY SPS meets the needs of adults who wish to finish a bachelor's degree, progress from an associate's degree, earn a master's degree or certificate in a specialized field, and advance in the workplace or change careers. Consistently ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report for its online offerings, CUNY SPS has emerged as a nationwide leader in online education. The School's renowned and affordable online programs ensure that busy working adults may fulfill their educational goals on their own time and schedule.

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