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First Year Reading Program

First Year Reading Program 2013

book cover

Welcome! We're glad you’ve come to learn more about the First Year Reading Program and are excited that you will soon be joining us on campus.

The First Year Reading Program book selected for the Class of 2017 is Notes from No Man's Land, by Eula Biss. Members of the Class of 2017 will be mailed copies of the book in late summer.

In this series of forthright essays, Biss sets out to examine issues of race and identity in America through the lens of history and of family. She makes links between lynching and the spread of the telephone, both of which required tall straight poles in public places. She considers the legacy of Reconstruction in public school systems, particularly the New York City classrooms where she teaches, and questions the instruction to make her students "better people." She remembers the white and black dolls she shared with her sister in light of the famous Doll Studies of Mamie and Kenneth Clark, and she rereads Laura Ingalls Wilder as she settles into the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Throughout, Biss acknowledges her own assumptions and privileges. Never hesitating to ask difficult questions and face the sometimes-embarrassing answers, she still remains hopeful about the possibilities of diversity. - Graywolf Press

Key Events

Throughout the academic year, there will be a number of interesting programs and events related to themes in this year's book, Notes from No Man's Land. Keep an eye on the Events section to learn more about what we've got planned. Key events include:

Small Group Book Discussions

On Monday, August 26th, 2013 at 11a.m., all first-year students will participate in dynamic group discussions of this year's book.

Assembly Series

Monday, September 9, 7 p.m. Location: Edison Theatre
Eula Biss, author of Notes from No Man's Land.

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