|CUL Home||>||Common Reading 2009|
To come to college means to come into a new relationship with books.
The Common Reading Program is now an established start-of-school tradition at SMU. Students new to SMU receive the selected book during the summer at AARO and read it before they arrive for the start of the fall semester. Faculty, staff, and returning students already have begun reading and discussing the book in preparation for the small-group conversations with new students that take place just before Rotunda Passage and Opening Convocation—truly an afternoon of SMU new-student traditions. Students will find that the book and the questions it raises will be part of the curriculum of their first-year writing courses as well.
This year's Common Reading is Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. This memoir, aside from its obvious political interest, opens up avenues of discussion into race, class and identity in the unique melting pot that is America. Students can be expected to address issues of the construction of memoirs as personal mythology and as a method of examining the meaning of a life.
Obama wrote this memoir when he was not much older than most of our students. He addresses questions that all young people struggle with, seeking to understand his origins and how they shape his future and the person he will become. This is a book that should have relevance for all readers. The many student, faculty, and staff volunteers who support the Common Reading Program work hard to ensure a meaningful, thought-provoking experience for incoming students, recognizing, though, that the new students' thought, input, and sharing of ideas are critical to the Program’s success. We look forward to vigorous discussions of Obama's Dreams from My Father.