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Reading Project Connects More Than 1,000 UC Freshmen

UC’s largest college recommends a summer reading assignment to its incoming freshmen.

Date: 9/3/2008 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823

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Freshmen entering UC’s McMicken College of Arts & Sciences (A&S) had an early assignment before the start of classes. Over the summer, the more than 1,000 freshmen entering A&S were invited to take part in a common reading project focused around the theme of citizenship.


During summer orientation, the college distributed copies of the book “Cosmopolitanism” to A&S freshmen. The book, written by philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, was selected by A&S Dean Valerie Hardcastle’s faculty advisory committee.

“The goal of having a common reading project is to provide a theme that our various academic disciplines can touch upon – in discussions and activities – throughout the academic year,” explains Associate Dean Joanna Mitro. Mitro says the college provided the books for free to all A&S freshmen attending summer Orientation and A&S faculty who are participating in the reading project that will evolve over the academic year.


Advisory committee member Willard Sunderland, associate professor of history, says the book was selected for its potential for discussion about the many ramifications of citizenship, not just in the sense of belonging to a particular national society, but also the reality of belonging to a global society.

On a campus that holds a world of cultures among students, faculty and researchers, Sunderland says the book explores what unites and divides different cultures. He adds that the advisory committee felt the general theme of citizenship was especially worthwhile to consider amid a U.S. election. “All of us will be hearing a lot about citizenship and many of us will take an active part in civic life during the course of this election year. Knowing this, we wanted a book that would help us think as a community about what citizenship means in a broad sense. Appiah’s book is a wonderful journey into these kinds of questions,” Sunderland says.

During each quarter over the academic year, the college plans to sponsor an event that is connected to the freshman reading project. The first event is scheduled as part of Welcome Week, when more than two dozen A&S faculty will lead discussion groups about “Cosmopolitanism” during the college’s “Welcome Day” on Tuesday, Sept. 23.

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