Community Read

Book Cover for Hadha Baladuna
Community Read Event

Community Read is a program of the Faculty Senate's First Year Experience Committee (co-chairs Katherine LaCommare and Kristin Poling), modeled after the Big Read of the National Endowment for the Arts. The intent is for students, especially those new to campus, to engage with topics from several disciplinary perspectives. 

The reading for 2023-2024 is Hadha Baladuna: Arab American Narratives of Boundary and Belonging, edited by Ghassan Zeineddine, Nabeel Abraham, and Sally Howell. Hadha Baladuna was named a 2023 Michigan Notable book award winner.

Hadha Baladuna (This Is Our Country) is a collection of creative nonfiction exploring the diversity of Arab American voices and experiences in our region, from a Lebanese peddler in the 1920s to an Iraqi-Lebanese poet inspired by Tupac Shakur. Topics include family, history, religion, immigration, music, gender, assault and recovery, and political activism. These diverse voices and topics will provide many opportunities for class and community activities. 

This book has many connections to our campus, through editors Ghassan Zeineddine (English) and Sally Howell (History), and through UM-Dearborn alums among its contributors, including  Teri Bazzi, Yasmin Mohamed, and Hanan Ali Nasser.

We anticipate a year of programming that celebrates the many stories of our campus community and our connections to our vibrant Dearborn community. The FYE Committee is planning events and activities to facilitate cross-campus conversations, including lectures and readings, writing workshops, and a small grants program for faculty to support related classroom or co-curricular  Please consider using selections from the book and encourage students to participate in the year's activities. 

Our first event is a Faculty Teaching Workshop, Thursday, May 25th, at 2:00 pm on Zoom. Here, faculty will have the opportunity to conversation with the book’s editors and with faculty who are already using the book, to develop ways to use the book and its themes for fall classes. The first 20 people to sign up for the event will also receive a free hard copy of the book to use in their teaching . Please register here.

Last year's reading was All We Can Save, an selection of 60 essays and poems related to the climate crisis, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. The anthology is part of the All We Can Save Project. 

The book for 2021-2022 was William D. Lopez's Separated: Family and Community in the Aftermath of an Immigration Raid. The book traces wide-ranging economic, social, psychological, heath, and educational fallout from one ICE raid in 2013 in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Dr. Lopez is an assistant professor at the UM School of Public Health. 

The reading for 2020-2021 was How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi. UM-Dearborn faculty members prepared video presentations on individual book chapters for use in classes or as guides to prepare class presentations. These chapter video commentaries are available on the UM YouTube playlist. The Mardigian Library also has several web pages devoted to Antiracism resources