Difficult Dialogues Books

How to Talk About Hot Topics on Campus: From polarization to Moral Conversation

Nash, Bradley, & Chickering (2008). Jossey-Bass

This book addresses growing concerns about polarization around controversial issues college and university campuses. It provides a theory-to-practice model of conversation that will enable all to engage in productive and civil dialogue on the most difficult and controversial social, religious, political, and cultural topics. This is done using a proven, successful process that the authors call moral conversation. Through concrete frameworks, ground rules, and examples readers learn how to justify, create, set up and facilitate respectful and engaging conversations about even the most controversial topics. The book includes both in-classroom and out-of-classroom settings across campus, and it speaks to faculty, student affairs staff, administrators, and students in all campus venues.

The magic of Dialogue: Transforming Conflict into Cooperation

Yankelovich, D. (2001). New-York: Touchstone

This book is a practical guide to dialogue as a tool for promoting cooperation. The Author defines dialogue as not just another form of conversation or discussion, but as a specific skill to be acquired. If successfully practiced, it can produce extraordinary results. His book shows how dialogue differs from debate, discussion and deliberation. It is essential for transforming conflict into cooperation and achieving results by building trust and understanding.

Start talking: A handbook for Engaging Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education

Landis, K. (2008). University of Alaska Anchorage

This book explores productive ways to engage difficult dialogues in classroom and other academic settings. It presents a model for a faculty development intensives, strategies for engaging controversial topics in the classroom, and reflections from faculty and staff members who have field-tested the techniques. It is intended as a conversation-starter and field manual for professors and teachers who want to strengthen their teaching and engage their students more effectively in conversations about the most important issues of our time.

Communication Between Cultures

Samovar, L. & Porter, R. (2007). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth

This book gives students an understanding and appreciation of different cultures and helps them develop practical skills for improving their communication with people from other cultures. It’s known for its consistent emphasis on religion and history as key variables in intercultural communication. It provides examples that force those who read it to examine their own assumptions and cultural biases, and helps give understanding to the subtle and profound ways culture affects communication.

Discussion As a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques For Democratic Classroom

Brookfield & Preskill (2005). Jossey-Bass

This book provides a how to plan on conducting and assessing classroom discussions. The Authors suggest exercises for starting discussions, strategies for maintaining their momentum, and ways to elicit diverse views and voices. The book includes new exercises for discussion and the encouragement of democracy in the classroom, while clearly showing how discussion can enliven classrooms, and outline practical methods for ensuring that students will come to class prepared to discuss a topic. They also explain how to balance the voices of students and teachers, while still preserving the moral, political, and pedagogic integrity of discussion.