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Books That Shaped America

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Join us for Books That Shaped America—conversations for the American University and metro-D.C. communities about books that have helped shape American society. Each discussion starts with a focal text, but the conversations stretch far beyond the pages of the books themselves. Each discussion is led by a faculty or staff member from AU.

Attendees are encouraged—but not required—to have read the featured text. The event list below also provides references and links for additional materials attendees may find interesting. Admission and parking are free for this series, and no RSVP is required to attend.

The Books That Shaped America series is cosponsored by the American University Library and the Humanities Lab at American University. The series was co-founded by the American University Library and the School of Professional and Extended Studies.

2014–2015 Events

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
7-8:30 p.m.
Training & Events Room (115), Bender Library
Discussion Leader: Marianne Noble, Associate Professor, Department of Literature, College of Arts & Sciences

Call Number: Available publicly online and as downloadable eBook; eBook for AU community or on campus 150th Anniversary Fascimile Edition or modern edition; hard copies PS3201 1900 or PS3201 1959
Alternate and Supplemental Materials: Walt Whitman LibGuide

Past Events

View all past Books That Shaped America presentations on our You Tube channel here. 

March 2015: Mary Clark, Interim Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Vice Provost, Professor, Washington College of Law, discussed Family Limitation by Margaret Sanger. 

March 2015: Karl Kippola, Assistant Professor, Department of Performing Arts, College of Arts & Sciences, discussed The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill.

February 2015: Keith Leonard, Associate Professor, Department of Literature, College of Arts & Sciences, discussed Beloved by Toni Morrison. 

January 2015: Richard Wilson, Professor, Director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic, Washington College of Law, led a discussion of Common Sense by Thomas Paine. 

November 2014: Erik Dussere, Associate Professor, Department of Literature, College of Arts & Sciences, discussed Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett. 

April 2014: Assistant Professor Nimai Mehta, School of Professional & Extended Studies, led a discussion of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

October 2014: Jonathan Tubman, Vice Provost for Research & Dean of Graduate Studies, discussed Sexual Behavior in the Human Male by Alfred Kinsey.

October 2014: Lewis Grossman, Professor, Washington College of Law, Affiliate Professor of History, reprised a discussion of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, first given in October 2013. 

October 2014: Timothy Staples, Assistant Director of Training and Leadership Development, Housing and Dining Programs, discussed A Street In Bronzeville by Gwendolyn Brooks. 

September 2014: Michael Manson, Director, University Honors Program, discussed New Hampshire by Robert Frost. 

April 2014: Associate Dean Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, School of International Studies, led a discussion of Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, audio, slides, photos (audio and slides courtesy of Patrick Thaddeus Jackson) 

February 2014: Assistant Professor and Director of Creative Writing Kyle Dargan, Department of Literature, College of Arts & Sciences, led a discussion of The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin.

January 2014: Dean Carola Weil, School of Professional & Extended Studies, led a discussion of The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois, photos

November 2013: University Librarian Nancy Davenport led a discussion of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury photos 

October 2013: Professor Lewis Grossman, Washington College of Law, led a discussion of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, photos 

September 2013: Department Chair Nathan Harshman, Department of Physics, College of Arts & Sciences, led a discussion of Experiments and Observations on Electricity by Benjamin Franklin, photos 

June 2013: Assistant Professor Thomas Merrill, Department of Government, School of Public Affairs, led a discussion of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass, photos

May 2013: Department Chair Pamela Nadell, Department of History, College of Arts & Sciences, led a discussion of How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis, photos

April 2013: Professor Cynthia Jones, Washington College of Law, led a discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Books That Shaped America

The "Books That Shaped America" list was created by the Library of Congress. See the full list of texts or explore the interactive electronic exhibit created by the Library of Congress.

Engage with this series on social media using #AUBTSA

Have a question? Want to receive information about upcoming events?

Contact:
Danea Freeman
Library Programming Coordinator
202-885-3847
LibEvents@american.edu

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