Project Wake

Wake Forest has a long tradition of engaging in a summer academic project on an issue of intellectual and social importance. The tradition includes setting aside time during New Deac Week for students to engage with a faculty or staff member on this issue. It is a favorite New Deac Week activity. For 2021, the Project Wake theme is “Re-:”

“Re-,” as a prefix, is multifaceted. Some words indicate a move backwards, a return to the “way things were before,” or even a lessening or diminishment. Others evoke a meaning closer to “again,” as in repetition or replication or reiteration. Alternatively, “Re-” can signal undoing, correction, or improvement. Finally, it can signal process and progress. This will be a year in which all of the possibilities of “Re-” are likely to have resonance for those who are returning to Wake Forest, and those who are entering its gates for the first time. Some aspects of traditional ways of knowing and being will restore or rejuvenate us, and others will be reimagined. “Re-” might signal a culling or selection process, or a pruning–keeping what still has potential and life, perhaps re-purposing what has outlived its utility, and discarding what is no longer productive.

As a participant in Project Wake 2021, you will join your peers in thinking about the challenges and opportunities of the remarkable times in which we live, and how your unique background equips you to meet those challenges. In June, you will find a list of the 2021 Project Wake summer reading options at Choices of books are available from many different genres and disciplines so that you can select a group that is most interesting to you. These conversations have proven to be an exciting and meaningful way to make new friends and discuss issues that matter.


Phone: 336.758.3320
Fax: 336.758.4548

P.O. Box 7225, Winston-Salem, NC 27109

Varies (See below)

Sunday, August 22

1:30 – 3 p.m.

Sign-Up Now

More about Project Wake

  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah


    • Discussion Leader: Dr. Michael Shuman
    • Location: Greene 310

    From apartheid South Africa to the current host of the Daily Show, Trevor Noah’s fascinating journey from his “criminal” birth to his celebrity adulthood is told through a series of personal essays that are deeply moving, terribly unsettling, yet absolutely hilarious. Noah is a gifted storyteller, and his ability to recover from adversity is highlighted in each story. His experiences with racism, religion, politics, and family are both relatable and compelling, and I’m certain that we will have a lively and meaningful discussion about what it means to recover from such a challenging – yet always colorful – childhood.

    I am the Director of our Learning Assistance Center and Disability Services (LAC-DS), where we are committed to providing opportunities for all students to achieve academic success. The LAC-DS coordinates many of the academic support services, including peer tutoring and academic coaching, that new students find invaluable, as they navigate their college experiences at WFU. I also teach a course in the Psychology department aimed at teaching students the skills and approaches that are associated with success in college.

  • All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis Edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson


    • Discussion Leaders: Steph Trilling and Lindsay Batchelor
    • Location: Davis Field Tent A

    A collection of essays and poetry written by women leaders addressing climate change. We’ve chosen the theme of “reframe” as a central theme of the collection is around strategies to engage others in this critical work. The book features climate change in a way that is accessible to everyone by covering the topic from a variety of viewpoints- creative, scientific, political, gender, ethnic, place-based and more. Our discussion will be loosely based on the All We Can Save Project reading circles whose website offers an engaging and personal approach to discussing climate change along with offering additional resources connected to each chapter.

    Steph Trilling is the director of the Women’s Center at Wake Forest University. She enjoys working with students, faculty and staff who are passionate about social justice, gender and racial equity, and intersectional feminism. Lindsay Batchelor is the director of the Office of Sustainability at Wake Forest University. She enjoys building collaborations across campus and in the community to address sustainability and climate justice.

  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman


    • Discussion Leaders: Dr. Jon Smart and Dr. Molly Knight
    • Location: Greene 340

    In his powerful fantasy novel American Gods, Neil Gaiman (re)imagines the American cultural patchwork through its many mythologies and considers what happens when old belief systems begin to die and new ones emerge. In the story, the protagonist Shadow encounters gods from various cultural traditions who are struggling to continue their lives in the contemporary United States. But they can’t live if no one believes in them — and a powerful new god threatens to wipe them out entirely. Gaiman’s tale of death and rebirth, the process of redefining oneself against old expectations, and finding one’s own path in the context of long-valued traditions has much to offer us, as the university asks us to reimagine and reevaluate our own ideas and ways of understanding the world.

    Dr. Knight is Associate Teaching Professor of German, and Dr. Smart is Assistant Teaching Professor of Writing.

  • Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone by Astra Taylor


    • Discussion Leader: Dr. Brian Warren
    • Location: Tribble A301

    In the past fifty years, democracy has become the most prevalent form of government around the world. Yet today the endpoint of this success story seems to be a widespread feeling that democracy is in crisis–even that it has failed, its future in peril. In Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone, documentary filmmaker Astra Taylor challenges her readers to consider the many weaknesses and shortcomings of historical democracies, even as she makes the case that there is no more promising alternative. She invites us to live in the tension between the crises caused by democracy’s failures and its exhilarating promise, which she believes can only be achieved by reframing how we think about democracy to see its tensions and paradoxes as a source of its strength and resilience, and by rethinking what democracy means for how we can, and should, live our lives.

    I am an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Classics and the Program for Interdisciplinary Humanities, and a Faculty Fellow in Angelou Residence Hall. I teach courses in Greek, Latin, and ancient history, as well as a First-Year Seminar called Tragic Love Stories: Ancient and Modern.

  • Midnight Library by Matt Haig


    • Discussion Leader: Dr. Jackie Friedman
    • Location: Kirby 104

    In this book, the title character is given the opportunity to explore many different pathways that her life could have taken had she made different choices; or ways that she could “reset” her lifeline in many different ways. It is well written, engaging and pulls on this idea of “regrets” as well as the since that “resiliency” is possible and that our experiences shape who we are.

    I’m Dr. Jackie Friedman, a Clinical Psychologist by training who works in the Learning Assistance Center and Disability Services. I have taught classes in the Psychology Department at Wake (and still do from time to time) but mainly I work with students to learn strategies for test anxiety, time management and helping students needing academic accommodations due to a diagnosed disability.

  • Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting-Pot Cuisine by Edward Lee


    • Discussion Leader: Meghan Webb
    • Location: Mendelbaum Reading Room, ZSR

    In Buttermilk Graffiti, Edward Lee presents the story of American food as one of transformation. Part memoir and part food travelogue, Lee visits ethnic communities across the country and deciphers our modern world through culinary traditions and cultures, examining the broader context of American food through the frames of class, society, culture, and assimilation. As a second-generation immigrant in the U.S., Lee is deeply aware of the efforts to both protect a culinary identity in a world that is foreign and bewildering, and also improvise with unfamiliar ingredients and coexist within other food cultures. Buttermilk Graffiti inspires us to reimagine the American food landscape, and look at what we eat, where it comes from, who is cooking it, and why.

    I am an Instruction and Outreach Librarian at ZSR Library. In addition to teaching FYS 100: Information, Influence & Neutrality and LIB 100: Academic Research & Information Issues, I develop and lead library programs related to student engagement and instruction and work closely with the ZSR Library Ambassadors, our student leadership group. In my free time, I garden, cook, and travel.

  • The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein


    • Discussion Leader: T. H. M. Gellar-Goad (THM is an LGBTQ-inclusive advisor.)
    • Location: Tribble A303

    One of the leading physicists of her generation, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than a hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly non-traditional, and grounded in Black feminist traditions. Prescod-Weinstein urges us to recognize how science, like most fields, is rife with racism, sexism, and other dehumanizing systems. She lays out a bold new approach to science and society that begins with the belief that we all have a fundamental right to know and love the night sky.

    Hi, I’m THM! I’m an Associate Professor of Classics here at Wake Forest University and a Faculty Fellow in Angelou Hall. I’m an intersectional feminist engaged in antiracist activism on campus. Every fall (except this one, I’m on research leave!), I teach a first-year seminar living-learning community titled “Beware the Ides, Beware the Hemlock: Roleplaying Crisis in Ancient Greece & Rome.” I specialize in ancient Roman poetry, especially the funny stuff: comedy, satire, erotic elegy, and — if you believe me — the allegedly philosophical poet Lucretius. In February, I published an introduction to ancient Roman comedy for anybody who’s interested, no background knowledge needed.

  • Educated by Tara Westover


    • Discussion Leader: Raven Scott
    • Location: Starling Hall Conference Room

    Tara Westover’s bestselling memoir is a profound reminder of the ways we carry our communities of origin with us, even as we embark on new educational endeavors. Growing up in an inwardly-focused, survivalist family with rare religious convictions, Westover was taught to fear any education that came from the outside world. Through her story of discovering herself against all odds, she was able to reimagine what life could be for her. The discussion on Educated will allow this group to interrogate their own conception of their college experience and preconceived notions of the world and how Wake can help them reimagine the world and your role in it.

    I am an Assistant Director of Programming in the Program for Leadership and Character and a former high school teacher, college coach, and nonprofit director. I believe in the power of education to change lives and cannot wait to explore those themes through this work!

  • Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor


    • Discussion Leader: Dr. Melissa Jenkins
    • Location: Collins Residence Hall Lobby

    Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) was a Southern woman writer whose life and writings exemplified difference. She kept peacocks as pets. She suffered from lupus, a disease that deformed her body and left her, at times, in great pain. She remained unmarried. She was a devout Catholic living in a heavily Protestant Southern community. She also wrote provocative short stories about race, gender, and religion during some of the most volatile moments in American history. Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Everything that Rises Must Converge,” the title story from her final short story collection (1965), offers a tragicomic vision of the American South during the height of the Civil Rights struggle. The story enacts a collision between those who cling desperately to the past, those who pretend to desire renewal but in fact seek regression, and those who want to imagine a new future.

    I am a faculty fellow in Collins Residence Hall and an alum of Wake Forest. I have been teaching in Wake Forest’s English department since 2008.

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


    • Discussion Leader: Michael Lamb
    • Location: Heritage Room, Reynolda 216

    What does it mean to be human, and how might classic literature help us reimagine our humanity and foster the empathy needed to build relationships with those who seem radically different from us? These questions are at the heart of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a novel that grapples with fundamental questions about empathy, character, and community and highlights, with great intrigue and gripping detail, how character can be formed (or de-formed) by society. Far from affirming its caricature as Hollywood horror, this discussion will enable us to reimagine a classic novel in way that prompts reflection on what it means to be human and reveals powerful metaphors that have long been used to challenge injustice and extend equality to those who have been denied it. Frankenstein’s profound lessons about humanity, culture, and society should continue to haunt us all.

    I am the Executive Director of the Program for Leadership and Character and an Assistant Professor of Politics, Ethics, and Interdisciplinary Humanities. My research and teaching focus on leadership, character, and the role of virtues in public life. I love using literature to explore moral complexity and expand our moral imaginations, and Frankenstein is one of my favorite novels, so I hope you’ll join me!

  • His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by Jon Meacham


    • Discussion Leader: Dr. Bradley Burroughs
    • Location: Benson 344

    Beginning even before his first arrest, which came during a sit-in at a Nashville lunch counter in 1960, and continuing over the course of a remarkable life in which he was arrested 43 more times and elected to 17 terms in Congress, John Lewis exhibited a propensity for stirring up what he called “good trouble.” Wielding keen political insight, channeling a prophetic zeal, and employing the tools of nonviolent resistance, Lewis persistently challenged the status quo in a quest to make the United States more just. In this bestselling biography, Jon Meacham chronicles Lewis’s life, concentrating especially upon Lewis’s role in the Civil Rights Movement and bringing into focus the philosophical and theological convictions that animated his life and work. Ultimately, Lewis’s example challenges us to reimagine the character of good citizenship and the possibilities for pursuing justice in our contemporary context.

    I am the Assistant Director of Leadership and Character in Religious Life. In that role, I work with students in discussion groups, individual mentoring relationships, and many other venues, helping them to reflect on their own deepest convictions and how they can live the kind of flourishing lives that they hope for. Similar aims lie at the heart of my academic research, which focuses upon the role that religious convictions play in political life and how such convictions shape the lives of persons of faith. I hope at some point to have the opportunity to get to know you better and to help as you get to know yourself better.

  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson


    • Discussion Leader: Ann Phelps
    • Location: Carswell 107

    After languishing through his first year at Harvard Law School, Bryan Stevenson discovered his vocation and passion in an unexpected place: On death row among convicted murderers. Their stories and humanity shaped him, leading him to found the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama where Stevenson has spent his life getting the wrongly accused acquitted of false conviction while also infusing a harsh justice system, rife with racial bias and criminal corruption, with a mercy it desperately needs. This is a memoir that will challenge, inspire, and haunt you, leaving its mark on you with each chapter and story.

    I am the Director of Programming in Leadership and Character, where I get to work in close, mentoring relationships with students who are seeking to become thriving individuals who help their communities to flourish and leave an impact on the world. Our team does this through many avenues (athletics, religious life, sustainability), but I focus on how our character is shaped by performance, creativity, and the arts. As a part of this effort, I worked with our partner program, the Oxford Character Project on a series called “Ethics Through Fiction and Film” where this spring students, ethicists, and legal practitioners from around the world discussed how Just Mercy (the book and the film) have influenced the way we encounter and strive for systemic justice and radical mercy in the world. I hope this discussion will leave the kind of impact on you that it has on me over the last year.

  • Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro


    • Discussion Leader: Dr. Christa Colyer
    • Location: Salem 205

    In the novel “Klara and the Sun,” Nobel prize winning author Kazuo Ishiguro challenges his readers to reimagine what it means to be human and what it means to love. The story takes place in the near future in the United States, and is narrated by Klara, an “AF” (Artificial Friend), whose remarkable observational abilities help us to see the world – and especially the potential impact of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and genetic engineering – from a very different vantage point. In a recent interview in “Wired” magazine, Ishiguro said “All these breakthroughs in science, I think they could be great. But, you know, we’ve got to be ready for them.”

    I’m really looking forward to leading our discussion of “Klara and the Sun” and trying to answer Ishiguro’s question: are we ready for the many scientific breakthroughs that are upon us now and soon to come? It will be fun to reimagine our future together! I’m Dr. Colyer, a Professor of Chemistry who has been teaching and conducting analytical chemistry research at Wake Forest University for more than 20 years. I also enjoy serving as a lower division advisor and undergraduate & graduate student research advisor.

  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin


    • Discussion Leader: Jackie Sheridan
    • Location: Tribble A102

    The most profound acts of re-imagining involve thinking beyond the limits of what currently seems possible. Science fiction novels provide a wonderful chance for us to stretch our minds in this way by placing us on far off worlds (or in different times) where the rules (technological, biological, social) contrast with our own. This allows us to engage in thought experiments that ask, “What if?” The Left Hand of Darkness follows a human emissary sent to bring a young alien world into the fold of a galactic civilization, which requires learning and navigating its political, religious, and social peculiarities. While fundamentally a story about building relationships in a new world, this novel asks us to reimagine the answers to some major questions—How might a society without men or women function? What does a science fiction novel (and author) look like? Ground-breaking at the time of its original publication in 1969 (winning both the Nebula and Hugo awards), its ideas still resonate today.

    My name is Jackie Sheridan and I serve as the Director of the WF Scholars program, where I support students who pursue external scholarships (Goldwater, Rhodes, Marshall) and those who attend Wake Forest on an internal scholarship. Dreaming about the future and telling stories is a big part of our work!

  • Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson


    • Discussion Leader: Kevin Frazier
    • Location: Scales 121, Ring Theatre

    G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona reimagine the character of Captain Marvel as a Pakistani-American teenager dealing with the rigors of a high school education, her Muslim heritage and faith, and her immense fandom for all things superhero in this graphic novel. As Kamala Khan wrestles with her sense of identity and gaining super powers, she also tries to balance her new life as a superhero with all of the other conflicting parts of her identity, while also trying to save her peers from a mad “Inventor” who wants to put an end to climate change once and for all, but at what cost? Ultimately, the reading asks us “What does it mean to be a superhero?” and “How does one balance family, faith, and a desire to do the most you can do?”. It’s also a colorful and dynamic origin story in the grand tradition of the Marvel Silver Age, showing us that anyone can be a superhero, and that representation in superhero stories is an essential part of the genre’s evolution in the 21st century. Please note that the ISBN of the correct volume 1 is 978-0785198284.

    Kevin Frazier is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Theatre and Dance. In addition to teaching, he is an award winning lighting and sound designer for theatre, and he also teaches a First Year Seminar about graphic novels and superhero mythology and its intersection with graphic novel works of non-fiction.

  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein


    • Discussion Leader: John Welsh
    • Location: Greene 338

    The child prodigy 一 Mozart at the piano, Tiger on the golf course, Judit Polgár at the chessboard. It is a familiar narrative with a seemingly simple lesson: success at the highest level requires early specialization, the obligatory 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, and a monomaniacal devotion to a single discipline. For some fields, this may be true 一 but not all of them, David Epstein suggests. Indeed, in the contemporary work environment, becoming a better specialist often means pursuing a wider range of interests and knowledge. For Epstein, the skills that define the most innovative and creative performers include the ability to jump across multiple disciplines and to analogize between seemingly unconnected fields of knowledge and expertise. In this way, Range can serve to reframe the first year experience, as well as the relationship between courses taken inside and outside the major.

    I teach beginning and intermediate Italian language classes at Wake Forest. My approach to literary criticism blends elements of fields as disparate as quantum mechanics, behavioral economics, ethical philosophy, and post-structuralist semiotics. Like Epstein, I also formerly worked in sports journalism. Rising WFU sophomore Anna Brooker will also join the conversation.

  • Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford


    • Discussion Leader: Carter Smith
    • Location: Tribble C316

    The shop class of Matthew Crawford’s title is a relic of the old days, a time when people learned—in school, no less—how to make things, often with dangerous power tools. It’s likely that your high school had no shop class. Mine did, but I took calculus instead. That’s a large part of what this book is about: how educational systems of the last thirty years have tended to overlook the value and, often, the profound satisfactions of working with materials. If in many ways your presence at Wake Forest signals your success at acquiring various kinds of knowledge about things, I’m interested in talking with you about this book and its concern for doing things, making them work.

    I have been teaching in the Writing Program at Wake Forest for six years. Sometimes I make things out of words; sometimes I make things not made out of words.

  • The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor


    • Discussion Leader: Marian Trattner and Erin Adamson
    • Location: Wellbeing Center, A330

    Systems of oppression thrive off our inability to make peace with difference and injure the relationship we have with our own bodies. The Body Is Not an Apology offers radical self-love as the balm to heal the wounds inflicted by these violent systems. World-renowned activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor invites readers to reconnect with the radical origins of our minds and bodies and celebrate our collective, enduring strength. The Body is Not an Apology can help to reimagine new ways for readers to reimagine what’s it’s like to feel strength by their own bodies instead of feeling shame for them and how those feelings can contribute to finding connection on campus during their first year in order to build a more inclusive campus for all.

    Marian Trattner serves as the Assistant Director of Wellbeing, Health Promotion for the Office of Wellbeing. Marian believes deeply in the power of practicing and prioritizing one’s own wellbeing in order to build community and a more inclusive world.

    Erin Adamson serves as the Assistant Director of the Women’s Center at Wake Forest University. Erin is committed to using an intersectional feminist lens to promote gender equity on campus.

  • The Ravine: A Family, a Photograph, a Holocaust Massacre Revealed by Wendy Lower


    • Discussion Leader: Susan Rupp
    • Location: Tribble A104

    In spite of the enormous amount of scholarship that has been produced, many of the particulars of the Holocaust are still undiscovered. More than a third of Jews who perished during the Holocaust were killed in mass shooting actions rather than in liquidation camps, a story that is difficult to capture given the very nature of these actions and the scarcity of documentation. In this recently published book, Wendy Lower describes her efforts to learn the story behind a single photograph of a mother and child taken at an action in occupied Ukraine. In the process, she also examines how historians work in working to recover the past.

    Susan Rupp has been a member of the History Department at Wake Forest for over twenty-five years. An inveterate nerd, one of her greatest aspirations is to become a decent birder.

  • The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bulls#!it by John V. Petrocelli


    • Discussion Leader: Dr. John V. Petrocelli
    • Location: Greene 341

    Today, the world is awash with misinformation, disinformation, fake news, hoax news, inaccurate news, spin and deception. A common thread through each of these sources is a pervasive and insidious communicative substance that we commonly call bulls#!t—which is not just a cutesy or provocative word—but now a technical term used in philosophy and psychology to signal that something has been communicated without regard for truth, evidence, or what we call semantic, systemic, logical, or empirical knowledge. The worst outcome of bulls#!t communications is bad decision making. In my research as an experimental social psychologist, I’ve found a very big problem: we all think we know bulls#!t when we see and hear it. The reality is, we really do not, and that’s why a surprisingly and disturbingly large percentage of really smart people still believe that storing batteries in the freezer will improve their performance, that you can see the Great Wall of China from space, or that perhaps there are medicinal qualities to Clorox and other household, disinfectant cleaners. In The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bulls#!t, I propose that bulls#!t is much more than just an insult and its detection is bigger than our common sense of it.

    I am a Professor of Psychology. More specifically, I am an experimental social psychologist who studies social cognition (i.e., how people select, interpret, remember, and use social information to make judgments and decisions about themselves and the social world), with a special focus on bulls#!tting and bulls#!t detection, attitudes, persuasion, and judgment and decision making. I teach a capstone course for majors in psychology entitled “Contemporary Issues in Psychology: Bulls#!ting and Calling Bulls#!t” and frequently lead discussions about the problems with bulls#!t and how to detect and combat it. I’m eager to think more with you about this topic.

  • You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience and the Black Experience by Tarana Burke and Brene Brown


    • Discussion Leader: The Intercultural Center Staff
    • Location: Intercultural Center Lounge, Benson 346

    This is a potent collection of essays, organized by Tarana Burke (founder of the “Me Too” movement) and Dr. Brene Brown (vulnerability and shame researcher), on Black shame and healing featuring Black writers, organizers, artists, academics and cultural figures. This anthology creates a space to recognize and process the trauma of white supremacy and a space to be vulnerable and affirm the fullness of Black love and Black life. By reading this collection, participants will experience understanding, healing and inspiration to practice shame resilience when we ourselves or people in our community experience it.

    The Intercultural Center strives to influence campus culture by cultivating intercultural knowledge, competency and leadership. We are committed to enhancing the experience of domestic and international underrepresented groups by offering co-curricular programming, student support and engagement, identity development initiatives and opportunities for comprehensive learning and development.

  • The Age of Missing Information by Bill McKibben


    • Discussion Leader: Dr. Monique O’Connell
    • Location: Tribble A103

    Before Bill McKibben ( was known for his environmental activism, he was an author. This book relates the results of McKibben’s 1990 experiment in gaining knowledge. He watched 24 hours of television and then, as a contrast, spent 24 hours on a mountaintop in the Adirondacks. While the book pre-dates the widespread use of the internet, it raises important questions about how the information age shapes human experience. The work is particularly relevant in 2021, when many have spent the past pandemic year interacting with others primarily through screens. This book and our conversation invites you to reconsider what relationship you want to have with nature, and with digital technology and culture, during your time at Wake Forest. It will also lead to larger considerations of the relationship between humans and the environment in the 21st century.

    I am a professor and department chair of the History department, and I am also an affiliated faculty member in the Environmental Studies program. I teach a variety of courses covering medieval and early modern European history, including Environment and Disease in the Medieval Mediterranean and Science, Magic and Alchemy in Europe. I write about the history of Renaissance Venice and its empire, a topic that has taken me into economic exchange, early print culture, political communication, classicizing rhetoric, clerical conspiracies, and the history of botany. I read this book when I was a senior in college and it has stayed with me for over 25 years, so I look forward to discussing it with you at the beginning of your college career!

  • It's About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated into Your Greatest Advantage by Arlan Hamilton


    • Discussion Leader: Dr. Rebecca Gill
    • Location: Carswell 212

    Arlan Hamilton is the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, a prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm that supports entrepreneurs of color, LGBTQ entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs, and others who tend to be “underestimated”. Hamilton’s story details her experiences in the music and magazine industries, with homelessness, and as a Black, queer woman in spaces typically associated with masculinity and whiteness. By sharing her story as a seeming “outsider” in this influential regional space, Hamilton “reclaims” self, space, community, and voice in contemporary entrepreneurship and innovation circles. This will be an exciting book and discussion for anyone interested in the worlds of tech, entrepreneurial, or high-performance work!

    I am Rebecca Gill, Associate Professor of Communication and Entrepreneurship. I have been at Wake Forest University for three years, having previously lived in Massachusetts, Montana, Utah, Texas, and New Zealand. I teach courses that address entrepreneurial identity and sense making; communication and culture in startup, tech, and other workplaces; and critical approaches to power, community, and voice.

  • Biden v. Trump: How Political Advertisements Shaped the 2020 Presidential Race? Edited by Allan Louden


    • Discussion Leader: Allan Louden
    • Location: Carswell 118

    This book grew out of a 2020 Political Communication class in the fall of 2020. The collection of student research owes its existence to the 2020 pandemic, illustrating what Wake Students Can accomplish when time allows. The aggregated advertisements examined over 2800 spots from the last presidential race. Students interested in political communication will find one of the craziest sets of political ads in existence. The discussion will be illustrated from the most amazing 2020 Spots.

    I am a professor of communication, PhD from University of Southern California, specializing in argumentation and political communication.This book and our discussion Draws upon decades of examining televised political Advertisements.

  • Black Wealth / White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality, 2nd Edition by Melvin Oliver and Thomas Shapiro


    • Discussion Leader: Dr. John Holmes
    • Location: Manchester Hall 122

    The American dream is the belief that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, economic success is primarily determined by your choices and your work ethic. Is this true? Racial inequality is undoubtedly the most explosive and persistent policy problem in America. There is a private wealth gap between races which has persisted even as the income gap has shrunk. This book attempts to measure how large this is, what policies specifically lead to this gap, and moving forward what policies will help eliminate this gap. We should read this book skeptically, challenging the claims in the book as well as our own beliefs.

    I am an assistant professor of mathematics, and earned my Ph.D. from Notre Dame in 2015. I became interested in mathematics because I was interested in finance, and I very much like how we can use math to understand the world and make better decisions.

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


    • Discussion Leader: Jessica Richard
    • Location: Tribble A201

    How does reframing allow us to reassess our judgments of others? Pride and Prejudice takes us through this process of reframing to reassess by using images of seeing, partial vision, pictures in frames, and views out windows. Putting what we think we know about someone in a new frame gives us a new picture of their character. Furthermore, not only does reframing give us a new view of others, it shows us the prejudices that framed our original view and teaches us about our own limitations. After a significant reframing of her view of someone, the heroine of Pride and Prejudice exclaims with chagrin, “Till this moment, I never knew myself!” Pride and Prejudice gives us language for examining our first impressions of others and shows us how to reframe those initial views for more accurate and meaningful connections.

    I am an associate professor and Chair of the English Department and have taught at Wake Forest for 19 years. I am a scholar of eighteenth-century fiction and the work of Jane Austen. I love talking with students about Jane Austen because there are always new things to discover in her novels. Her works are very much of her time yet surprisingly relevant to our own.

  • The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis


    • Discussion Leader: Al Rives
    • Location: Salem 202

    The field of Behavioral Economics is often traced back to the work of psychologists Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman. This book is the story of how they RE-FRAMED thinking about how people commonly make decisions, or, more to the point, how people display irrationality. But the book is about more than their research; it is also a story of their intellectual relationship. So, a new college student reading this book will come to understand some pitfalls in decision-making, and they will also come to understand some peaks and valleys in the relationships within a community of learners.

    I am a teaching professor in Chemistry (not Psychology, and not Economics). I am interested in how students come to understand things and how they might be tricked into misunderstandings.

  • Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Brene Brown


    • Discussion Leader: Dr. Melissa Maffeo
    • Location: Greene 313

    Where do you belong? How can you find belonging in times of vulnerability, such as in major life transitions? This book describes research and practice on learning bravery through vulnerability. In her book, Brown encourages introspection on our own vulnerability and fears and how to reclaim those vulnerabilities and fears and turn them to courage.

    I am an Associate Teaching Professor in the Psychology Department, and my background is in behavioral neuroscience. I love to talk to students about how psychology and neuroscience fit with their everyday lives, and on how those connections promote a deeper understanding of how to learn. One of my favorite quotes comes from Game of Thrones, where Ned Stark is talking to his young son. “‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’ ‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”

    I’m excited to discuss this book with you for so many reasons, but mainly, because this book allows readers to look inward and use our vulnerabilities as courage. We are all vulnerable, and transitioning to college may be one of the most vulnerable times in our lives. Let’s use that, and reclaim it as courage.

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


    • Discussion Leader: Deb Marke
    • Location: Social Justice Incubator, Basement of Kitchin Residence Hall

    “Unapologetic is a public declaration that I am no longer afraid to say what must be said and that our movement has a mandate that will not be silenced or disappeared.” – Charlene Carruthers. To re-imagine and build a world that is just and equitable we must anchor our movements in blending the personal with the historical. Through this space we are seeking to build self-awareness, principled struggle, and transformative power where you can see yourself as a visionary and leader for change.

    I serve as the Assistant Director of Advocacy and Social Justice Education in the Office of Civic and Community Engagement, the hub of community-based activity at Wake Forest University. In the spirit of pro humanitate, my work focuses on building critical communities, empowering social change, and I am excited to build with you!

  • Believing is Seeing: Creating the Culture of Art by Mary Anne Staniszewski


    • Discussion Leader: Morna O’Neill
    • Location: Scales 110

    How can art “reimagine” our times? How can art contribute to community building? “Believing is Seeing” suggests that art and art museums exist in a separate cultural sphere, one that can comment upon our times but with limited ability to affect social change. We will ask, “what are the alternatives?” With “Believing is Seeing” as a backdrop, we’ll consider a recent “manifesto” by curator Yusomi Umolu on how art museums can work to dismantle structural racial injustice. We’ll view works of art from the University Art Collection in Hanes Gallery, Benson Student Center, and Reynolda House Museum of American Art to consider how Wake Forest can “reimagine” the art museum and how art works “reimagine” the university. We will pay particular attention to the Wake Forest Student Union Art Acquisition Experience, a pioneering program that tasks students with acquiring art for the university. The only mandate for this experience is that the art “must reflect the times.” Dr. Jennifer Finkel, Curator of the University Art Collection, will co-lead this discussion.

    I am an associate professor of Art History in the Art Department, and I teach the history of art collecting and the art museum. I love talking to students about art, and introducing them to the amazing resources at Wake Forest for visual learning.

    I’m looking forward to talk about art, about the display of art, and about the Wake Forest Study Union Art Acquisition experience, where every four years since 1963, a small group of students purchase art for the Student Union Collection.

  • How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt


    • Discussion Leader: William Fleeson
    • Location: Greene 312

    Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one.

    Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die—and how ours can be saved.

    I’m a psychology professor doing research on honesty and on respectful dialogue across the political divide. I’m looking forward to finding out what you all think about the issues raised in this book. It should be fun!