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The classic ethnography on how implicit bias impacts black male students’ identities


Black males are disproportionately "in trouble" and suspended from the nation’s school systems. This is as true now as it was when Ann Arnett Ferguson’s now classic Bad Boys was first published.  Bad Boys offers a richly textured account of daily interactions between teachers and students in order to demonstrate how a group of eleven- and twelve-year-old males construct a sense of self under adverse circumstances. This new edition includes a foreword by Pedro A. Noguera, and an afterword and bibliographic essay by the author, all of which reflect on the continuing relevance of this work nearly two decades after its initial publication.

Ann Arnett Ferguson was educated through high school in Kingston, Jamaica, and received her PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. She taught primary school in Ghana, middle school in Tanzania, and Black Studies and Women’s Studies at Smith College in Massachusetts. She is retired and writing fiction in Portland, Oregon.


“When Ann Ferguson published Bad Boys in 2000, it marked a watershed moment in educational research. The book’s insights on the role of schools in constructing, negotiating, and pathologizing Black masculinity were immediately recognized as a towering intellectual achievement. Twenty years later, as the academy and broader public finally begins to seriously engage the ‘school to prison pipeline’ discourse that Ferguson helped to advance and complicate, we still have much to learn from this theoretically rigorous and methodologically rich text. With a compelling new afterword and a brilliant new bibliographic essay, this new edition of Bad Boys is as urgent, relevant, and generative as the original was two decades ago. Anyone interested in the educational lives of Black boys owes an intellectual debt to Ann Ferguson. This book is a reminder of how large that debt is.”
—Marc Lamont Hill, Temple University

“Teachers and future teachers should read Ferguson's book, and so should all of those who are still unconvinced that our schools treat children differently when they are black.”
— Anthropology & Education Quarterly

“[Ferguson] leaves no doubt about the structural sources of schooling tensions and contradictions as she analyzes the complexity of Black masculinity in schools. These are racialized and gendered lessons for educational policy makers, classroom teachers, school disciplinary enforcers, and community members who want to make sense of the early school experiences of Black males.”
— Gender & Society

“Ferguson succeeds in providing an intersectional analysis of how race, gender, and class dynamics combine in the institutional practices and treatment of the African‐American boys she follows. . . .  Bad Boys is an engaging and important book that should be required reading for scholars and students studying education, race relations, criminal justice, social reproduction, or child psychology.”
--American Journal of Sociology

Bad Boys is an incisive critique of the ways in which public schools help to create and shape perceptions of black masculinity. Beyond its rich ethnographic details, Ann Ferguson has crafted a compelling and insightful piece of scholarship. . . . Her work has widespread appeal and is readily applicable and informative for fields throughout the social sciences, especially criminal justice and sociology.”
--Criminal Justice Review