In this episode, I talked with Patricia Leavy
on her new book, Spark
(The Guilford Press, 2019). The book is a highly original novel about an unexpected yet extremely fruitful journey of a sociology professor, Peyton Wilde. Peyton, together with a diverse group of companions, was charged with answering a perplexing question in a five-day seminar held in Iceland. As they worked to address the question from very different perspectives, the experience also transformed each and every one of the team members. This innovative text offers far more than what a typical novel could offer: the author seamlessly incorporates into it a process of social inquiry. Readers can relate to the book on multiple levels. It can be read for fun, for a book club discussion, or adapted as a required text for qualitative inquiry courses in fields such as education, social work, and communication.
Pengfei Zhao holds a doctoral degree in Inquiry Methodology from Indiana University-Bloomington. Among her research interests are qualitative research methodology, youth culture, identity formation, and comparative sociological and educational studies. She is currently working on a book manuscript studying the coming of age experience of rural Chinese youth during and right after the Cultural Revolution.