Histories of Conflict on College Campuses : A Reading List

UNC Press authors have written many books and articles on the topic of conflict and protest on college campuses over many decades. Below we’ve compiled a recommended reading list that underscores the history of politics, culture, conflict, racism, and many other complex issues that have arisen across college campuses throughout the United States.

Browse the following recommended titles and others published on the history of education and use promo code 01UNCP30 for 30% off your purchase from uncpress.org.

Books cover for Resistance from the Right

Resistance from the Right: Conservatives and the Campus Wars in Modern America
By Lauren Lassabe Shepherd

“A thoroughly researched, revelatory political history with abundant relevance for today. . . . Shepherd presents compelling evidence for the ways that these groups, although a minority on campus, have exerted long-lasting influence.”—Kirkus Reviews (STARRED review)

“Any organization founded by William F. Buckley and M. Stanton Evans is not going to be supportive of free speech. As historian Lauren Lassabe Shepherd documents in Resistance from the Right, Young Americans for Freedom has been characterized from the start as a group of extremely pampered establishment scions who are prone to both self-pity and deploying their social and legal power to silence their political enemies.”—Jeet Heer, The Nation

Book cover for Our Higher Calling, second edition

Our Higher Calling: Rebuilding the Partnership between America and Its Colleges and Universities, Second Edition
By Holden Thorp & Buck Goldstein

“Compelling . . . . Thorp and Goldstein outline a blueprint for trustees, presidents, faculty and students to follow to rebuild higher education for a new century.”—Jeffrey J. Selingo, Washington Post

“What can higher education do to reverse public and political skepticism about it–even hostility toward it? More than anything, say Holden Thorp and Buck Goldstein, American higher education must work to restore the compact that has long underpinned it—a tacit agreement in which academe produces knowledge and well-educated citizens in exchange for stable public investment and the autonomy to get on with its job.”—The Chronicle of Higher Education

Book cover for Building Power, Breaking Power by Jesse Chanin

Building Power, Breaking Power: The United Teachers of New Orleans, 1965-2008
By Jesse Chanin

“Meticulously researched, this book places Black teachers and their fight for equality at the forefront of a political narrative that has long marginalized them. Moreover, it offers crucial insights into the ongoing debates surrounding public education, teachers’ unions, civil rights, and neoliberal reform, making it an essential read for those seeking a comprehensive understanding of these interconnected issues.”—William P. Jones, University of Minnesota

“A riveting history and insightful analysis, this work exposes the racism and conservative school reform tactics that were used to dismantle a formidable economic, political, and socially impactful Black-led teachers’ union following a natural disaster. This work is poised to make a compelling and substantive argument to critical education reform debates.”—Rebecca Kolins Givan, Rutgers University

Book cover for Being Black in The Ivory

Being Black in the Ivory: Truth-Telling about Racism in Higher Education
Edited by Shardé M. Davis

“The perils and possibilities of life for Black scholars exist in the same academic house. Shardé Davis’s pathbreaking interventions on social media about what it means to be Black in higher education find an extended shelf life with this brilliant collection of bold voices speaking about what’s wrong and how to fix it. Being Black in the Ivory is just what the doctor ordered. This book must be read by everyone and anyone who cares about Black scholars and scholarship in the twenty-first century!”—Michael Eric Dyson, University Distinguished Professor at Vanderbilt University, author of Entertaining Race

Being Black in the Ivory is a collective exhale. Davis validates the experiences of Black scholars and reminds us that we are not crazy and we are not alone.”—Kellie Carter Jackson, author of Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence, finalist for the MAAH Stone Book Award

Oberlin, Hotbed of Abolitionism: College, Community, and the Fight for Freedom and Equality in Antebellum America
By J. Brent Morris

Henry Howe Book Award, Ohio Genealogical Society

“Provides a thorough overview of the significant role played by Oberlin in abolition and antislavery.”—Journal of American History

“Morris provides an insightful analysis of a college and community at the vanguard of abolition…Scholars and students of American history, antebellum reform, and Ohio history will enjoy Morris’s energetic prose and engaging work.”—American Historical Review

“Will invariably interest those eager to understand the historical relationship between the liberal arts and social activism.”—History of Education Quarterly

Written/Unwritten: Diversity and the Hidden Truths of Tenure
Edited by Patricia A. Matthew

“These essays are now, more than ever, a timely and courageous contribution to the exploration and critique of the operation of power as it refracts against diverse, non-dominant identities in American higher education.” —James H. McDonald, NY Journal of Books

“The powerful testimony from veteran and young scholars in Written/Unwritten illustrates the barriers that still must be shattered, while also pointing the way forward to creating a more inclusive, diverse and intellectually vibrant academy.”—Diverse: Issues in Higher Education