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Tressie McMillan Cottom Books In Order

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Digital Sociologies (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lower Ed (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
For-Profit Universities (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Essay Collections

Thick (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

About Tressie McMillan Cottom

The American sociologist and academic Tressie McMillan Cottom is highly regarded for her writing that’s just as accessible as it is informative. Coming from a politically active background, her mother being a member of the Black Panther Party, she has a passion for social activism, which can be found in her writing. Whether it be examining social trends from a position of intersectionality, or analyzing data on racial inequalities, she is someone that has made an enormous impact on the academic community. Her work has been used to explain a number of different movements and trends within society, allowing her to have become an hugely influential figure. With a strong voice she has managed to create a niche for herself that has really brought to life exactly what she is writing about.

Producing a large backlog of work, she has produced an impressive range of books over the years, many which have attracted an equally wide range of readers. This has led to her receiving a lot of acclaim from a number of different quarters as well, with her being a key speaker at a variety of different institutions too. With a lot more to come too, she really will be staying around for quite some time to come yet, as she continues her career into the foreseeable future.

Early and Personal Life

Whilst she was born in Harlem, Tressie McMillan Cottom grew up in Winston-Salem, located in Charlotte in North Carolina. With her mother being a member of the Black Panther Party there, she would grow up with a strong interest in politics and social activism. She would go on to gain an undergraduate degree, but not before working in a technical college as an enrolment officer there.

Attending North Carolina Central University, she would go on and receive her B.A. along with an HBCU in political science and English. She would also gain a Ph.D. From Emory University, which she would focus on sociology, giving her the necessary tools to continue. Quoted in print continually as an expert within her field, she continues to make a name for herself throughout the community at large.

Writing Career

Although Cottom did work as co-editor on a some books in 2016 prior to releasing her own titles, she would make her solo debut in 2017 with the title ‘Lower Ed’. This would later be followed up by ‘Thick: And Other Essays’ in 2019, which would also provide some academic analysis, along with more personal segments. Previously she would also write a number of essays, many for various different highly prestigious publications, such as the ‘Washington Post’, something which she continues to this very day.

Thick: And Other Essays

Coming out through the ‘New Press’ publishing label first, this would first be published in 2019 on the 8th of January to much acclaim. Giving the reader her thoughts over a collection of different essays, this is one collection that brings together much Tressie McMillan Cottom’s best work. Giving her readers an insight into her mind and unique perspective, this allows them to gain a greater understanding of where she’s coming from.

A little more personable and intimate than her other titles, this is Cottom being somewhat more relaxed and laid-back with her writing. Giving her own thoughts on a whole range of different subjects, she manages to cast her eye on a variety of different topics and issues. Collecting these all together, she really allows them to become a lot more thematic in how they are presented overall to the reader. This isn’t to say that she doesn’t bring a certain level of accuracy and facts to her work though, as she always makes sure to back her ideas up at all times.

Providing her thoughts on a whole variety of different topics, from race, to wealth, to beauty and more, she leaves no stone unturned in this collection. Written with a sense of wit and snark, she takes a more grounded approach to the topic of black identity in modern America, setting aside the data analysis. This allows for a less structured more informal approach, as she also looks at being a female in America as well, placing her work alongside other influential writers of her generation. Acting as a cultural bible for modern black women, it seeks to provide a distinctive and unique insight that is otherwise unseen. Providing the ideas in a range of different essays, she really manages to cover a whole variety of topics over the course of the book.

Lower Ed: How For-Profit Colleges Deepen Inequality in America

Originally brought out in 2015 on the 29th of December, this would be a stand-alone non-fiction title from Tressie McMillan Cottom. Released through ‘The New Press’ publishing outlet, this would lay out a strong piece of invective against the modern higher-education system. Knowing exactly what she wants to say, Cottom makes the most of her material, whilst delivering it in an easy to read and straightforward style.

Taking a strong academic look at the higher-education system, Cottom combines her penchant for detail with her own unique style and personality. This allows for an extremely well thought out title that really gives the reader every single angle of the issue at hand. That’s not to say that she doesn’t shy away from voicing her own opinions though, as she has a strong message to put forwards at the center of the book. Driving it forwards, this allows it to move along with a strong sense of ambition and power, giving it a real sense of weight and heft behind it.

Whilst higher-education has typically had a history of being not for profit, this has changed in recent times, with more than 2 million students enrolled in for-profit courses. Taking a look at this sudden expansion in for profit courses, Cottom aims to get to the heart of it, analyzing social and economic trends in the process. Drawing from her own experiences as well, she manages to give the book a personal more intimate approach too, using her time as a former counsellor to get to the heart of the subject. She also takes a closer look at what the pitfalls of these for-profit courses are, and where they can potentially fall down, whilst taking an even handed approach. Tackling the difficult issue of inequality, she really manages to cast a light on what problems students face today in the modern education system.

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