I am honored and humbled that the chapter authors chose to share their work for this book. I have learned so much from the ways they are engaging the concept of Niceness in their research and their professional lives. The collective rendering that this book produces is inspiring, compelling, and smart. My deepest gratitude goes to each of you.
Many colleagues provided peer reviews of early drafts of the chapters in this book, and the final iterations of these chapters would not be what they are without the expert feedback of these individuals: Tara Affolter, Lesley Bartlett, Keffrelyn Brown, Katie Elliott, Melvin Hall, Gretchen McAllister, Sarah Robert, and Sofia Villenas. Peer review is so important to the process of creating publishable, accessible, and compelling work, and I am grateful for the time you each contributed to this collective project. Additional thanks to the two anonymous reviewers of the initial book idea and the final full manuscript; your feedback helped mold this project into a stronger book. And finally, I am grateful to Pieter Martin at the University of Minnesota Press, and to Peter Demerath at the University of Minnesota, for their ongoing interest in and advocacy of my work.
Finishing a book project somehow has the effect of causing me to reflect on the multiple and varied relationships, experiences, and intersections that contributed to the final product. Certainly, there are far too many to properly acknowledge, as this book has been in the making for quite some time. A full genealogy would likely take me back to my childhood—complete with expectations of Niceness paired with frequent displays of the strong adult women in my life who stood up and spoke out when necessary. Unbeknownst to my friends, family, and colleagues, I have been studying Niceness on a daily basis for at least the past decade. I suppose that’s what happens when a concept monopolizes the mind of someone who is already primed to observe and analyze social and institutional interactions. Scholarly work can thrive only when one is supported and engaged in every aspect of her life, so I am indebted to the many people who have helped keep me (mostly) centered.