A book co-authored by a UNM Sociology professor is gaining increased national attention, including reviews by some of the most prestigious journals in the field.

“A Shared Future is both optimistic and critical about a compelling model for social change.” – American Journal of Sociology

Professor Richard Wood released  A Shared Future: Faith-Based Organizing for Racial Equity and Ethical Democracy in 2015 and was honored with the ARNOVA Outstanding Book Award a year later.

The book explores the work being done to overcome racial inequality in the U.S. It focuses on a specific social movement sector known as faith-based community organizing (FBCO), and looks at how these coalitions work with local faith communities to advance racial equality at the local level and in the wider society.

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“It’s gratifying to see A Shared Future getting reviewed by prominent journals—especially at a time when racialized hostility is on the rise, since the book is about the promise and challenges of work for racial equality in America,” said Wood. “The reviewers are thorough and generous in their praise, but also fair in their criticisms, which are mostly on target.”

The UNM sociology professor, along with co-author Brad Fulton, an assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, drew on their National Study of Community Organizing Coalitions and on interviews in these organizations to look at how racial equity fits within the movement’s longstanding work against economic inequality in society and policy paralysis in government.

“At the heart of A Shared Future is an optimism that FBCOs can provide models for ethical democracy that serve to empower communities,” said one review in the American Journal of Sociology, one of the top two sociology journals in the country. “{It’s} undercut with a recognition that no model is perfect and that the work of deepening democracy is ever unfolding.”

Reviewers highlight the authors’ thorough evaluation of faith based community organizations, along with their assessment of how those groups impact communities and political action around them.

“Every page and every chapter demonstrate their expertise and deep familiarity with the studied faith-based community organizing coalitions,” wrote the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion also touts the book as a “tour de force” for religion scholars and community organizers -- noting how Wood and Fulton were able to skillfully present the difficulties associated with FBCOs, as well as the positive advocacy those groups bring to the table.

A Shared Future is available for purchase at the UNM Bookstore, at local bookstores, or online.