Do immersion trips really transform those who participate and how so? In his new book Empathy Beyond US Borders: The Challenges of Transnational Civic Engagement
(Cambridge University Press, 2019), Gary J. Adler, Jr.
explores this question and more. Using mixed methods, including surveys, interviews, and ethnography, Adler investigates how an immersion travel organization located on the U.S./Mexico border uses particular pedagogy in their programming, as well as the cultural fractures that may occur in between the program and the people attending and participating. This book pushes the reader to think deeper about these types of programs and the power and pitfalls that can occur.
This book would be enjoyed by anyone working in immersion programs, in addition to any non-profits working in the field in general. In addition, Sociologists of culture, stratification, and religion may find the book of particular interest. This would be a great addition to any grad level course that tackles social inequality.
Sarah E. Patterson is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan. You can tweet her at @spattersearch.