Campus to discuss 'Between the World and Me' April 28

By: Kathy Hovis,  A&S Communications
April 22, 2016

Members of the Cornell community are invited to explore issues of race in America during six simultaneous small-group discussions of the Ta-Nehisi Coates book “Between the World and Me” Thursday, April 28.

The discussions, set for 12:20-1:10 p.m., will take place at locations across campus and are part of the College of Arts and Sciences’ New Century for the Humanities celebration.

The book, winner of the 2015 National Book Award, is written as a series of letters from Coates to his teenage son.

“This idea began because several of us noticed that we knew people outside of academia and others inside, but in quite disparate fields, who had read Coates’ book and were interested in talking about it and/or passing it on to friends and colleagues,” said Gerard Aching, professor of Africana and Romance studies. “The goal of the event is to get people talking about race and racial violence in the country, especially after Ferguson-Baltimore-Charleston.”

Facilitators were selected from diverse departments and programs in the college to lead the discussions.

“Coates presents in his book an opportunity to reflect on the black experience in America, and he utilizes the lived experiences of the black male within the United States to challenge the social inequalities that continue to persist along racial lines,” said Chad Coates, assistant dean for admissions and advising, who will be one of the facilitators. “Coates states, ‘In America, the injury is not being born with dark skin, with fuller lips, with a broader nose, but in everything that happens afterwards.’ There is much unpacking around race in America that still needs to be done, and ‘Between The World and Me’ beckons us to engage in the dialogue.”

Copies of the book are available at Olin Library in the “new and noteworthy” area; Uris Library, on three-day reserve; Africana Library, in three-hour and three-day reserve areas; as an audiobook on Overdrive; and through Amazon and other booksellers.

Locations and facilitators:

  • Centennial Room/S2-120, Cornell Vet School – Sofía Villenas, associate professor, Latino studies and anthropology; director of the Latino Studies Program;
  • Lobby Lounge, Appel Commons (North Campus) – Sarah Jefferis, writing coach, Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives;
  • Sky Lounge (1st floor), Noyes Community Center (West Campus) – Jamila Michener, assistant professor, government;
  • Goldman Lounge, Duffield Hall atrium (Engineering) – Anna R. Haskins, assistant professor, sociology;
  • Seminar Room 100, Mann Library (Ag Quad) – Paul Fleming, professor, German Studies; director of the Institute for German Cultural Studies; and
  • Groos Family Atrium, Klarman Hall (Arts Quad) – Chad Coates, assistant dean, undergraduate admissions and advising. 

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