Using The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian To Teach About Racial Formation

Kevin M Talbert


In this review of Sherman Alexie's 2007 novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, I discuss how I use an excerpt from the book in an undergraduate Sociocultural Studies in Education course. I argue that works such as this, even though they are classified as young adult fiction, hold powerful possibility for student learning when juxtaposed against theoretical texts. I explain how I use the text in class to teach students about racial formation theory. In particular, I use the experiences of Junior, the story's 14-year-old narrator and protagonist, as examples that illustrate how racialized identities get constructed and negotiated.   


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