SJU Reads' Gets Political

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The 2008 presidential race has college administrators and student organizers rallying undergraduates on campus, and Saint Joseph's is no exception. During orientation, administrators took advantage of the University's proximity to historic Philadelphia to offer freshmen a tour of the National Constitution Center. The tour complemented the students encouraged summer reading of Spencer Overton's Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression.

The book, which details voter accounts of the election process and bureaucratic hurdles, is this year's Saint Joseph's University Reads (SJU Reads) program selection choice.

"We chose the book because many of these students will be voting for the first time in November," offered Nancy Fox, Ph.D., associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "Stealing Democracy gets these students thinking more about the voting process and those marginalized by current practices. Both of these are lessons in social justice, which is a hallmark of a Jesuit education."

SJU Reads is a program designed to engage the entire campus community in a common reading experience with the theme of the Ignatian value of social justice. Additionally, it includes a wide variety of interdisciplinary programming to explore topics addressed in the common reading.

"By selecting this book, we have been afforded an opportunity to ignite discussion on campus and, in turn, develop informed young voters," said Cary Anderson, Ed.D., vice president for student life. "When we empower our students with knowledge, we help them exercise their civic duty with informed minds."

Free copies of Stealing Democracy have been made available to students in the 15 classes studying the book, as well as to all incoming first year students, and multiple copies are available in the library. Related programming this fall includes:

Author Spencer Overton Thursday, Sept. 25, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Mandeville Hall, Wolfington Teletorium

Playing the Race Card: The Role of Race in the Presidential Election Robert Moore, Ph.D., Melissa Logue, Ph.D., assistant professors, dept. of sociology Thursday, Oct. 23, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Forum Theatre, Campion Hall

What Happened? The Election Wrap-up and Analysis Randall Miller, Ph.D., professor of history Graham Lee, Ph.D., professor of political science Thursday, Nov. 6, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Forum Theatre, Campion Hall

A film series organized by Jeffrey Hyson, Ph.D., assistant professor of history and director of American studies, is also being planned. The schedule is as follows:

"Election Day" Tuesday, Sept. 23, 7 p.m. Forum Theatre, Campion Hall

"Hacking Democracy" Tuesday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m. Forum Theatre, Campion Hall

"18 in '08" Thursday, Oct. 23, 4 p.m. TBD

"Street Fight" Tuesday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m. Forum Theatre, Campion Hall

"Our Brand Is Crisis" Tuesday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m. Forum Theatre, Campion Hall

--Carolyn Steigleman

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