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Paul Thomas publishes new book

Last updated April 22, 2015

By Tina Underwood

Paul Thomas, roadbuilder-cover, sizedFurman University education professor Paul Thomas has published Beware the Roadbuilders: Literature as Resistance (Garn Press).

Garn Press offers this description:

The central image and warning of the book—“beware the roadbuilders”—is drawn from Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. Thomas’ book, born out of blogging as an act of social justice,
presents a compelling argument that billionaires, politicians, and self-professed education reformers are doing schools more harm than good—despite their public messages. The public
and our students are being crushed beneath their reforms, Thomas writes.

In the wake of Ferguson and the growing list of sacrificed young black men—Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner—the essays in this book seek to examine both the larger
world of inequity as well as the continued failure of educational inequity. While each chapter stands as a separate reading, the book as a whole produces a cohesive theme and argument about
the power of critical literacy to read and re-read the world, and to write and re-rewrite the world (Paulo Freire).

Said Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center, “Literature, Professor Thomas shows us, can and should be a source of ideas that challenge us to think critically about the world around us–especially the ways we educate our children … Thomas uses this wonderfully written book to engage readers with these ideas and to further the much-needed conversation concerning education policy.”

Before joining the Furman faculty in 2002, Thomas taught high school English in rural South Carolina. He earned undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees in education from the University of South Carolina.

He is a column editor for the English Journal, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English, and series editor for Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres (Sense Publishers), in which he authored the first volume—Challenging Genres: Comics and Graphic Novels in 2010 and co-edited a volume on James Baldwin in 2014.

He was the 2013 recipient of the George Orwell Award presented by National Council of Teachers of English, and has written commentaries for the Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, Education Week, The State, and The Greenville News.

Read Thomas’ blog at and visit the publisher’s book site at

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at (864) 294-3107.

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