Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Department 1



In this chapter, we make the case for using The Autobiography of Malcolm X to teach introductory sociology classes. While The Autobiography of Malcolm X is an autobiography and not a novel, we summarize the literature on using novels in sociology and compare this literature to our own experiences using autobiographies in the classroom. We then describe how autobiographies are particularly helpful for introducing students to the concept of the ‘‘sociological imagination’’ before highlighting this with an in-class exercise. Finally, we discuss student feedback and some of the drawbacks to using autobiographies and the extent to which these drawbacks can be mitigated. [excerpt]

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