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2018 Shared Read Explores Life as Young Arab American

posted on: Jun 19, 2018



The 2018-19 Shared Read program will focus on the book How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi. It chronicles the lives of seven young Arab and Muslim Americans living in Brooklyn, New York.

Winner of the American Book Award, Bayoumi explores some of the often unseen struggles Arab and Muslim Americans experience such as racial profiling, government surveillance and workplace discrimination, especially in a post-911 America.

The Shared Read program introduces incoming freshmen to the expectations of college faculty and the importance of time management. All first-year students attending summer orientation receive a free copy of the book. They are then given an assignment related to the book, which they must complete during orientation. Born a Crime, Daily Show host Trevor Noah’s memoir, was last year’s Shared Read. The New York Times bestseller reflected upon growing up under apartheid in South Africa during the 1980s and ’90s.

“We’re proud to continue our Shared Read program for a fifth year. It truly creates a uniting experience for incoming freshman and helps promote positive discussion about difficult topics in an academic setting,” says Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs DonnaJean A. Freeden. “This year’s book examines complex social issues such as race, religion and civil rights in conjunction with popular generalizations about Arab Americans.”

The entire Rider community is welcome to participate in the Shared Read program with a limited number of complimentary copies available and events related to the book planned for the fall semester. The headline event will occur on Oct. 2 when Bayoumi will visit campus to discuss his book.

The Shared Read book is determined each year by a committee of faculty, staff and students. They strive to find a book with topical thematic elements that can be applied to courses across the curriculum and additional programs throughout the semester.

Bayoumi is an accomplished author, journalist and English professor at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. His latest book, This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror, was awarded the Arab American Book Award for Non-Fiction and selected as a Best Book of 2015 by The Progressive magazine. He is a columnist for The Guardian, and has written for The New York Times MagazineNew York MagazineThe and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other outlets.