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Tulane Honors Program

Friday, January 21, 2005

UNC Chapel Hill's Book reading project

Below is part of the article on the Chronicle of Higher Education (it is a paid subscription so I will not give you all of it; if you would like it I am allowed to email you a free link version that is good for 5 days, just email me).

We have a similar program and had students read The Color of Water last summer. It also dealt with racial tensions and was our most sucessful choice to date (the program is 3 years old at Tulane). We are in the final stages of selecting a book for this summer. This is my first time helping with the selection and I have been surprised with how dificult a decision this is.

So - Do you have any suggestions of a work that will engage in-coming students' minds over the summer without being overly burdensome; create stimulating conversations for our session during orientation and contribute to their preparation for academic life at Tulane?

Chapel Hill Picks Book on Race Relations for Summer Reading Assignment

"The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will ask incoming freshmen and transfer students this summer to read a book about racial conflict in the South during the civil-rights era.

This year's selection, Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story (Crown Publishers, 2004), was written by Timothy B. Tyson, a professor of African-American studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In the book, Mr. Tyson, who is white, describes the aftermath of the 1970 murder of a young black man in the author's hometown, Oxford, N.C.

In a written statement, the university's Summer Reading Program Book Selection Committee said it hoped the book would 'inspire readers to confront the fears and emotions that often attend discussions of race and to engage in a secure and energizing dialogue informed by historical clarity.'"


  • "The Future of Freedom" by Fareed Zakaria.

    Zakaria's thesis is that democracy does not necessarily equal freedom (contra common understanding of democracy). He argues that the success and longevity of the US is largely due to its non-democratic institutions (like the Federal Reserve and the Supreme Court). He points out that even though democracy is spreading around the world, freedom is not; and he points out countries which are democratic but not free: Venezuela, Russia, the PA, and others. His provocative conclusion calls for more liberal democracy, which he takes to mean less direct democracy. The conclusion will give both readers of right and left things to agree with, and will provoke new thinking about freedom, democracy, and how to have them.

    "The 9/11 Commission Report" by the 9/11 Commission

    This book is outstanding simply as an historical document of what happened on and leading up to 11 Sept 2001. Everyone in America should read it, and future generations should as well. The bit at the end, the recommendations, were I thought the least important section of the book. Most important was the clear and comprehensive narrative of the al-Qaida plot against the US, the terrorists' preparations and arrival, the attacks themselves, and the emergency response.

    By Blogger Evan, at 3:24 AM  

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