2012: Hisham Matar, In the Country of Men
What does it mean to be a College of Wooster student? Our liberal arts education—in all its components—aims to develop in its graduates the capacities “to become leaders of character and influence in an interdependent global community.” The many dimensions of this education are expressed in the Graduate Qualities, and may be summarized in the phrase, Independent Minds, Working Together. What does this mean, and how will Wooster’s mission challenge you as you enter the College and progress toward graduation?
Much can be said about these ideals and questions, but for now, starting with the Summer Reading Program, the focus is on the core skills of critical inquiry: critical reading, critical thinking, and communicating clearly with others, in writing, in speech, and in listening. The purpose of the Summer Reading Program is to provide a challenging assignment for critical reading, thinking, and writing, to engage you with the mission of The College of Wooster from the first days you are on campus, in the ARCH program, in New Student Orientation, and the first day of classes.
Before you arrive on campus for New Student Orientation, read In the Country of Men and write an essay on this book using one of the writing prompts listed below. On Friday, August 24, when you meet for the first time with your First-Year Seminar class during New Student Orientation, you will submit your essay to your professor at that time. This provides both an opportunity for discussion of the book with your FYS class and professor, and a first writing assignment that will provide a benchmark for beginning to work with you in developing the skills of critical inquiry that are necessary for success at Wooster and beyond. Engagement with this book will also serve as an entry point for participating in the intellectual community of Wooster in relation to the Fall Forum series of lectures and associated events, which this Fall are focused on the Middle East. The Forum Series will begin during New Student Orientation with a lecture by Robin Wright on Friday morning, August 24, and continue throughout Fall Semester, including Hisham Matar on Tuesday, October 2. Student authors whose essays demonstrate noteworthy critical engagement with In the Country of Men will be invited for small group dinners with the various Forum Series speakers throughout Fall Semester.
Use the ideas and questions offered here to facilitate your reading and thinking about In the Country of Men. When you arrive on campus, bring the book, your essay, and any related notes and thoughts, so that you will be prepared both to begin benefiting from and contributing to Wooster’s community of learners.
Henry B. Kreuzman, Dean for Curriculum & Academic Engagement Summer Reading 2012 Hisham Matar, In the Country of Men
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