Joseph Derrick Nelson
I am a qualitative educational researcher who explores how cultural stereotypes both inform policy and practice in urban schools and classroom, as well as social and academic identities among students of color living in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty. Situated in largely middle and elementary school contexts to date, my scholarship has employed sociocultural and developmental frameworks to examine: (1) high-achieving Black boys’ aspirations, relationships, and identities within a single-sex middle school for boys of color in New York City; (2) Boys' resistance and accommodation to norms of masculinity from early-to-late adolescence, and how middle school environments can be adapted to challenge negative race and gender stereotypes, and foster a culture of learning rooted in positive school relationships; and (3) public discourse and educational research that obscures Black boyhood, where societal anxieties related to the adverse life trajectories of Black males has compelled public officials and school professionals to enact targeted interventions that "adultify" Black boys, and forgo their critical need for curiosity, play, and joy during childhood.
Collaborative approaches to school reform have also been explored, specifically participatory action research (PAR) with teachers, students, and administrators to address school issues related to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and examine how PAR might be a viable form of community engaged scholarship that democratically partners universities and K-12 schools to improve students’ overall lives at school, and in their local communities.
My forthcoming book is entitled, “Never Give Up: Portraits of Black Boys' Resilience, Academic Success, and Identity Development in Middle School” (Harvard Education Press). In the low-income neighborhood where I grew-up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I taught first-grade in a single-sex classroom for Black and Latino boys.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE:
Participatory Action Research
Race and Teacher Education
Qualitative Research Methods
Nelson, J.D. (2018). Never Give Up: Portraits of resilience, academic success, and Black boys in middle school. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.
Stahl, G., Nelson, J.D., & Wallace, D. (2017). Masculinity and Aspiration in the Era of Neoliberal Education: International perspectives. (Eds.). New York: Routledge.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:
Nelson, J.D., Maloney, T., & Hodges, Z. (2017). Engaging Diversity and Marginalization through Participatory Action Research: A model for independent school reform. Berkeley Review Education. 6(2). pp. 155-172.
Dumas, M., & Nelson, J.D. (2016). (Re)Imagining Black Boyhood: Toward a critical framework for educational research. Harvard Educational Review. 86(1). p. 27-47.
Nelson, J.D. (2016). Relational Teaching with Black Boys: Strategies for learning at a single-sex middle school for boys of color in New York City. Teachers College Record. 118(6). p. 1-30.
Nelson, J.D., Stahl, G., & Wallace, D. (2015). Race, Class, and Gender in Boys' Education: Repositioning Intersectionality theory. Culture, Society, and Masculinities. 7(2). p. 12-32.
Pupik-Dean, C., & Nelson, J.D. (2015). Sociocultural Learning and the Hope for School Change: Participatory Action Research at a public elementary school. Theory, Research, and Action in Urban Education. 4(1). http://www.traue.commons.gc.cuny.edu
Way, N., Cressen, J., Bodian, S., Preston, J., Nelson, J., & Hughes, D. (2014). "It might be nice to be a girl... Then you wouldn't have to be emotionless:" Boys' resistance to norms of masculinity during adolescence. Psychology of Men and Masculinity. 15(3). p. 241-252.
Reichert, M., & Nelson, J. (2012). Reproduction, Resistance, and Hope: The promise of schooling for boys. Journal of Boyhood Studies. 6(1), p. 4-15.
Reichert, M., Nelson, J., Heed, J. Yang, R., & Benson, W. (2012). “A Place To Be Myself:” The critical role of schools in helping boys be boys. Journal of Boyhood Studies. 6(1), p. 54-75.
Nelson, J., & Vidale, D. (2012). Helping Boys Take Flight: A peer-mentoring program for boys of color at the Riverdale Country School. Journal of Boyhood Studies. 6(2), p. 219-223.
Epstein, T., Mayorga, E., & Nelson, J. (2011). Teaching about Race in an Urban History Class: The effects of culturally responsive teaching. Journal of Social Studies Research. 35(1), p. 2-21.
Nelson, J.D. (2017). Teaching Black Boys During Childhood: A counter-narrative and considerations in Michael, A. (Eds). A Guide For White Women Teaching Black Boys. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications (Corwin).
Way, N., & Nelson, J.D., (2017). The Listening Project: Fostering connection and curiosity in middle school classrooms (Chapter 10) in Way, N., Ali, A., Gilligan, C., Noguera, P. (Eds.). The Crisis of Connection: Causes, consequences, and solutions. New York, NY: New York University Press.
Reichert, M., & Nelson, J.D. (2017). I Want To Learn From You: Relational strategies to engage boys in school (Chapter 13) in Way, N., Ali, A., Gilligan, C., Noguera, P. (Eds.). The Crisis of Connection: Causes, consequences, and solutions. New York, NY: New York University Press.
Nelson, J.D. (2016). “I Want To Be A Soccer Player Or A Mathematician:” Fifth-grade boys of color aspirations at a "neoliberal" single-sex school in Stahl, G., Nelson, J.D., & Wallace, D. (Eds.) Masculinity and Aspiration in the Era of Neoliberal Education: International perspectives. New York: Routledge.
Fergus, E., w/ Nelson, J. (2014). Assumptions and Strategies: A model for "saving" boys of color. In Fergus, F., Noguera, P., & Martin, M. Schooling for Resilience: Improving the life trajectories of Black and Latino boys. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press.
EDUC 061 - Gender and Education
EDUC 023 - Adolescence
EDUC 014 - Pedagogy and Power: An Introduction to Education
EDUC 133 - Black Childhoods, Intersectionality, and Education
HONORS AND AWARDS:
National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow 2015
Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow 2014