Dr. Gregory Coleman
Anna Deveare Smith uses documentary theater, more specifically verbatim theater, to explore the issue of what has become known as the School to Prison Pipeline, as well as the larger social systems and structures that feed into the issue. Smith not only offers readers a fresh look at the debate from the perspective of those most impacted by and most acquainted with the hard realities of the School to Prison Pipeline (the students, parents, teachers, administrators, as well as journalists, activists, community leaders and law makers), but more importantly, she does so in their own words.
What spoke to me was that this text, in addition to exploring the School to Prison Pipeline, also examines some of the current issues we see being addressed in the media today (systemic racism, the rhetoric of protests vs. rioting, the relations between law enforcement and the black community, etc.).
I see Smith's Notes From the Field fitting into the university's mission in that it not only considers the issues of racism and equity in society at large, but specifically within the context of the education system. Furthermore, as Concordia continues to broaden and diversify it's student base, it is important to consider the challenges some of our students may have faced or overcome on their journey to higher education.