Comparative Human Development

Campus Counterspaces:

Black and Latinx Students' Search for Community at Historically White Universities

Cornell University Press, 2020


Micere Keels’ book, Campus Counterspaces, brings much-needed empirical data to bear on media and policy debates about how to transform historically white universities in ways that better support Black and Latinx students. Beginning in 2013, Keels – the founder of the Trauma Responsive Educational Practices Project – worked with a team of graduate students to track a cohort of more than 500 Black and Latinx students across their time at their universities in Illinois. Drawing on interview data that, as one reviewer notes, “reflect a crucial rapport and trust,” she demonstrates the importance of having counterspaces on campus that allow students to form a community with “likeminded others where they could simultaneously validate and challenge stereotypical representations of their marginalized identities and develop new counter narratives of those identities.” This important book offers clear steps for universities to move “beyond making diversity statements to taking diversity actions.”

Visit the book's website for more initiatives, as well as resources for teaching the book.


Micere Keels is an Associate Professor in Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. She focuses on understanding how race-ethnicity and poverty structure the supports and challenges that children and youth experience. Over the past decade and a half her work has examined several issues regarding educational inequality. She directs the Trauma Responsive Educational practices project, which is a research-translation and research-practice-partnership project that aims to connect the brain and behavior research on developmental trauma with the realities of school and classroom management.

"This is an excellent book that offers a significant contribution to the existing literature. A sense of the trajectory of Latinx and Black students' transitions is a new contribution that is needed in the field."
 Rachelle Winkle-Wagner, Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, author of The Unchosen Me