Intergroup Relations

Adrienne Dessel

You may know IGR staff member Dr. Adrienne Dessel from her role of Instructor in:

  • Foundations of Intergroup Relations
  • Training Processes in Intergroup Dialogue Facilitation
  • Conflict and Co-existence

We thought we'd take a few minutes to shed light on some things you may not know about Adrienne. We sat down with her and asked her several questions, so that we could share the answers with you.

What is the most life-changing book you've ever read?

There are many of them! This Bridge Called My Back is one. It was sitting on the book shelf at my friend's house, and I picked it up, and couldn't put it down. It opened up a world of feminist writings that I had never known before.

What book do you feel like every college student should read?

I'm not sure there is one book. What I think every college student should read is an author from a different social identity from their own, and preferably one who holds an identity with whom they are in conflict, or with whom they disagree. This could be someone who holds a different racial, sexual orientation, religious, social class, or other social identity that one perceives to be "different", "hard to understand" or just completely unknown. Reading literature and fiction by such an author is the best way to learn about their experiences and perspectives.

Are there any life experiences that motivated you to do this kind of work?

Actually, I spent a lot of time with young children in my early adulthood, and then in my early professional career, and it is for them that I do this work. Young children have the potential for the greatest social change- a new beginning. Social justice education should start  at birth!

Any favorite films that relate to social justice?

All of Spike Lee's films. Everyone should see all of them! I watched most of them with my teenage son last summer.

If your students could walk away with only one thing from their classes, what do you hope that would be?

An understanding of the connection between our psychology and our social structures, for they are mutually influential.