One Book, One SP2

Each year, SP2 selects a book to be read by students, faculty, and staff prior to the start of the academic year. School-wide events focusing on themes from the One Book will occur during the academic year, beginning in August 2020 with Zoom discussion groups.

SP2 obtained additional resources in June 2020 to implement the One Book initiative via Penn’s Excellence Through Diversity Fund (ETDF). The Fund provides resources for innovative interdisciplinary projects of Penn faculty on topics relating to diversity and inclusion. The ETDF will also be used to provide a stipend for an inaugural Race and Social Change Student Fellow from SP2 to assist with designing and implementing the One Book activities and discussions that will take place throughout the next year.

The One Book, One SP2 initiative is part of a larger set of recommendations and an action plan for SP2’s vision of promoting social justice. It is aligned with Penn’s Compact 2022 “which motivates community members to innovate, be radically inclusive, and positively impact their local, national, and global communities.”

Current One Book

The Advisory Committee on Race and Social Justice is excited to announce the selection of Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions by Valeria Luiselli, as the One Book, One SP2 choice for Academic Year 2020 – 2021. This book compassionately and poignantly sheds light on the experiences of undocumented youth from Central America who face possible deportation. Tell Me How It Ends has micro, mezzo, and macro level implications for issues of inclusion, diversity, and social justice.  The advisory committee evaluated last year’s One Book initiative and learned there was interest in continuing the initiative with more involvement from the SP2 community in selecting the book. To that end, an evaluation survey was conducted and we received 193 responses from SP2 students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Responses included reasons for selecting the nominated books and suggestions for ways they could be integrated in course work and school events. This information was carefully reviewed by the advisory committee, leading to a consensus in selecting the One Book.

The advisory committee is also recommending There There by Tommy Orange as an optional second book, in an effort to promote increased understanding of indigenous populations and their connection to Philadelphia and the United States more broadly. There There is also the selected title for the One Book, One Philadelphia initiative.

Strategies will be developed to help faculty incorporate the One Book in their course work. We look forward to using this initiative to spearhead dialog across our school and build community through various school activities and events related to the One Book.

Current faculty, staff, and students can access Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions from the Penn Library.

Former Book Selections

Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements
Charlene Carruthers

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