1st Edition

A Performative Autoethnography of Five Black American Men

By Stefan Battle Copyright 2024
    132 Pages
    by Routledge

    132 Pages
    by Routledge

    In this book, Stefan Battle weaves together autoethnographic narrative and ethnographic performance material from his own life and those of four other Black men, to show the untold impact of racial trauma on these everyday lives.

    By engaging readers with these experiences, stories, and pain, the book aims to help to stop racial trauma and heal the race-based grief of the many Black men who need to speak out against racial injustice United States. Battle organizes the book as a performative account of a one-day workshop that he might teach to college students or other adults. He uses individual activities including an interview with a White woman regarding her relationship to race and racism, a staged reading in which five Black men share their stories, an audience discussion about race and racism, and Battle’s performative talk, sharing the author’s desire for people of all races, to self-reflect and then talk among themselves about race and racism. Battle’s powerful book reveals that each Black man’s unique story is important and that understanding something of a person’s hidden context for processing the traumas of racism can lead to new understanding and healing. To this end, Battle examines issues such as Black men's mental health and the wider societal systemic racism in the US that provokes tension and harm to the racial victimization of Black men.

    Suitable for students and scholars of qualitative research and autoethnography in the social sciences, communication studies, education, social work, and Africana or Black studies, this book will also be of interest to anyone seeking to better understand and engage with the Black male experience in the US.

    Introduction 1. An Autoethnographic Interview with Beth Hewett 2. Wishes by Black Men 3: The Audience 4. What I Wish People Knew 5. Author’s Notes


    Stefan Battle is the chair and a professor at Rhode Island College School of Social Work BSW Program in Providence, Rhode Island. He was a fellow in 2021 at the Kennedy Center Playwright Intensive. As a newly founded playwright Stefan uses arts and humanities combined to create plays as scholarship to discuss the social injustices of race and racism.

    "In A Performative Autoethnography of Five Black American Men, Stefan Battle invites readers into the richly complex narratives of five Black men. Battle’s expert use of performative writing and alternative autoethnography inspires readers to develop what he refers to as an "I-Thou relationship with Black men"—all with the intent on inspiring meaningful racial change. Once you start reading, you won't want to stop." -- Annemarie Vaccaro, Associate Dean and Professor, College of Education, University of Rhode Island, USA

    "A Performative Autoethnography of Five Black American Men is a touching, daring, and disquieting book. Stefan Battle uses the emancipatory potential of autoethnographic performance to raise consciousness of real-life, racially-charged experiences that have shaped the lives of five Black men including his own. Their honest, vulnerable, edifying performance evokes the kind of deeper understanding of racial trauma so necessary for enabling acts of kindness, consideration, and self-reflection. The stories of these five men will tug at your heart, and broaden your appreciation of what it can feel like and what it may mean to experience the fear and pain of race-based trauma, especially for adult Black men seeking to live and communicate authentically. Suffering through harrowing, grief-filled experiences, these men find it increasingly difficult to speak up voluntarily and not feel silenced by indoctrinated assumptions of how they will be regarded and responded to if they do. These spellbinding stories of pain, humiliation, and trauma inspire a moral reckoning of how we can use autoethnography as a means of healing so that all of us will want to sit down, listen to, and do something about the vexing existential realities revealed in this performance." -- Arthur P. Bochner, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida, USA

    "Anchored in rigorous qualitative inquiry, A Performative Autoethnography of Five Black American Men examines the poignant and painful lived experiences of everyday racism endured, resisted and transcended by Black men. Their voices, contextualized by friendship and mutual support capture many of the challenges that Black men and women, boys and girls, endure in US schools, communities and institutions reflecting the devastating impact of white supremacy, color blind racism and neutrality on people of color. By anchoring his analysis in a theatrical narrative (script), Battle is offering a gift to readers by allowing them to view the harm done by well-intentioned/race neutral white teachers, colleague and "friends." This text is a contribution to social work education and all disciplines committed to anti-racism by inviting readers to examine their own complicity in Anti-Blackness while providing a framework for repair and transformation." -- Dr. Anthony De Jesús, MSW Program Director, University of Saint Joseph