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BOOK PROJECT CAMPUS COMMUNITY


p a r t n e r s h i p s


The Humanities Institute worked closely with the Campus Community Book Project in 2011-2012 to


generate conversations among humanities faculty and students around Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The book chronicles the protagonist Junior’s adolescence and his decision to leave the reservation to attend an all-white school in the neighboring town where the only other Indian is the school mascot. With his characteristic humor, Alexie confronts serious, often painful topics such as racism, poverty, and the role of cultural tradition in the lives of young people. The campus book project was estab- lished to promote dialogue and build community by en- couraging members of the campus and local communi- ties to read the same book and attend related events and discussions. “The books serve as vehicles to encourage conversations that would not happen otherwise,” said Mikael Villalobos, project coordinator and administra- tor of Diversity Education with the Office of Campus Community Relations.


32 d h i . u c d a v i s . e d u


‘‘The books serve as vehicles to encourage conversations that would not happen otherwise.”


In the spirit of fostering conversations around the


campus selection, the Humanities Institute co-spon- sored a number of forums and events involving faculty and students from across the humanities and human- istic social sciences. For instance, Traci Brynne Voyles, Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor of History, present- ed a public lecture exploring issues of environmental injustice on and near tribal land throughout the U.S. Voyles examined the ways in which Native land is con- sistently targeted for environmentally destructive prac- tices, ranging from hazardous waste incinerators to ura- nium mines and discussed the emergence of a powerful Native environmental justice movement.


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