American Tensions: 2020-2022 Common Read Project
E Pluribus Unum: “Out of many, one.”
These words appear on the very currency we use to regulate our exchange. A healthy society also must traffic in the exchange of perspectives. A pre-condition of fruitful dialogue is cultivating both the necessary intellectual empathy and the informed understanding required to truly hear and see others.
In an effort to cultivate the formation of such capacities, we have created a repository of free, open-source content intended to inspire and cultivate civil conversations.
Connect with Your Community
All CCC students and community members are invited to participate in our programs. We all share these common experiences. Many courses at CCC have adopted the resources as required or suggested reading. See the complete list of resources below.
Curios Living Magazine
Curios Living Magazine showcases the art and artists of northern Arizona. This year's magazine shares the theme of American Tensions.
About Common Read
CCC Common Read invites students, employees, and community members to engage with a common theme and participate in intellectual experiences related to that theme, as outlined by our current suggested text(s). We encourage faculty to use the full text or excerpts in their courses as required or recommended material.
Through facilitating course adoptions and programming outside the classroom, CCC Common Read seeks to create meaningful learning opportunities which deepen students’ engagement and sense of belonging at our institution and in our communities.
Through participation in Common Read programming, students will:
- engage in dynamic discussions with other students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the wider community while expanding our culture of inclusion and respect;
- explore vital questions and problems in an academic setting;
- communicate ideas orally in a clear and effective manner;
- demonstrate listening and comprehension skills; and
- make connections between learning experiences inside and outside the classroom and across disciplines.
In an effort to cultivate dialogue, the CCC Common Read recommends the following resources for use in our classrooms and our community:
The following resources are organized by type. You will find a brief description next to each resource.
- Lesson 1: Debate versus Dialogue
- This brief article from the Diversity Awareness Partnership defines differences between debate and dialogue.
- Guidelines for Discussing Difficult or High-Stakes Topics
- These guidelines from the University of Michigan can help instructors facilitate discussion around controversial issues. The article includes tips on managing both spontaneous and planned discussions, including identifying a purpose, establishing guidelines, providing a common basis for understanding, creating a framework for discussion that maintains focus and flow, including everyone, being an active facilitator, summarizing the discussion and gathering student feedback, and handling issues that involve the instructor's identity.
- “The Coddling of the American Mind” by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
- This article from The Atlantic discusses the use of trigger warnings in the classroom. We are developing a lesson plan to accompany this resource.
- How ‘Dialogue’ Can Create Empathy in a Divided Classroom by Rebecca Koenig
- This resource explores the meaning of dialogue and shares thoughts on approaching "touchy topics more productively and use conflict as a learning opportunity." This resource includes a podcast episode on the same topic.
- "We Have to Talk: A Step-by-Step Checklist for Difficult Conversations" by Judy Ringer
- This web page simply and directly walks you through the steps of having a difficult conversation using a formula similar to that found in "Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When stakes Are High." It is a quick read and will get you using the method right away.
University of Alaska Anchorage offers the following handbooks to help faculty, faculty developers and university leaders more effectively engage campus communities in conversations about the most important issues of our times.
- Start Talking: A Handbook for Engaging Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education edited by Kay Landis
- Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning and Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education
- The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives by Jonathan Haidt
- Understanding why people arrive at the conclusions they tend to arrive at is essential to productive dialogue on moral and political issues. In this Ted talk, Jonathan Haidt maps out a five-dimensional rubric for explaining how liberals and conservatives approach moral issues differently.
- TED Radio Hour: Dialogue And Exchange
- We're living in a time of intense ideological division, and it often feels impossible to bridge the gap. But can we afford not to? This hour, TED speakers explore how to communicate across the divide. These segments can be used together or separately.
Lesson Plans & Activities
- Preparing Students for Difficult Conversations
- This lesson plan from Facing History and Ourselves focuses on events in Ferguson, MO, but can be adapted for current events. The lesson's objectives are: Students will be able to establish a safe space for holding difficult conversations; Students will be able to acknowledge one another’s complicated feelings about race; Students will be able to develop a shared understanding of the basic facts surrounding the events in Ferguson.
Our theme for 2018-2020 was Belonging. Our selection was Sebastian Junger’s book, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging. Details about previous programming can be found below.
A Letter from the President
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger has been selected for the common read program for a variety of fascinating and thought-provoking reasons. We believe this amazing book will inspire self-reflection and dialogue concerning what it means to feel connected as part of a community and the very human response that can take place when that social bond is lost. Every individual will have something unique to learn from and to share with others. We hope that participation in this special project will help all of us understand the challenges that others face and motivate us to connect with and serve others in need.
Colleen A. Smith, PhD
Coconino Community College President
About the Book
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging examines the way war creates intimate bonds between people. Through times of adversity, humans are given a sense of purpose and connection. These experiences create collectives that depend on one another, ultimately connecting with our inherent nature as a communal species. To this point, Junger explores the relationship between combat veterans returning home and higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorders as they search for the closeness and unity in everyday society. Tribe explores themes of loyalty, belonging, and the human quest for finding meaning in life. This book introduces elements of tribal societies for the purpose of helping us consider ways of creating communities that thrive not from catastrophe or war, but from peace and the act of coming together in purpose. Sebastian Junger uses anecdotal historical notes, as well as psychological and anthropological lenses to explore the tribal connection that is largely lost in today’s society. The lack of clear purpose and community begs the question: how can we come together in today’s divided world?
Books selected for the Common Read program should:
- Generate dynamic discussions ideas among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the wider community
- Support educational initiatives and learning outcomes
- Bridge learning experience inside and outside the classroom
- Be widely accessible (in print and audio versions), inexpensive, and readable by most students
- Address issues that are relevant to students’ lives
- Be useful across disciplines
- Embody the ideals and academic standards of the college while expanding our culture of inclusion and respect
The Common Read Program would not be possible without the generous help of CCC's community partners. Our partners for the Common Read Program include:
- The City of Flagstaff-Coconino County Public Library
- Martin Springer Institute at NAU
- The Museum of Northern Arizona
- Office of Military and Veterans Affairs at NAU
- Fire Creek Coffee Company
Participatory Public Art Opening: Partnership with Flagstaff City-Coconino County Library
This event will showcase the art and writing collected throughout the Common Read's spring program.
May First Friday Artwalk
May 3, 2019
Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library - Downtown
300 West Aspen Ave.
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
Philosophy in the Public Interest
PPI provides a community forum for philosophical conversation facilitated by trained philosophers. This event will take up questions related to Tribe.
Event information coming soon!
|Writing Workshop with Stacy Murison: Telling your Story through Creative Nonfiction||City of Flagstaff-Coconino County Public Library||April 18, 2019|
|Poetry Workshop with Jodie Hollander: Telling your Story through Poetry||City of Flagstaff-Coconino County Public Library||April 4, 2019|
|Philosophy in the Public Interest: Is Masculinity Really Toxic?||Northern Arizona University||April 2, 2019|
|Ink: More than Skin Deep - Screening and Participatory Public Art||City of Flagstaff-Coconino County Public Library||February 19, 2019|
|After the Navy: A Story of Homecoming||CCC EDTalks||January 14, 2019|
|2019 OnCourse Student Publication Writing Competition||CCC OnCourse Literary Magazine||December 31, 2019|
|Poetry of Greif and Healing||Museum of Northern Arizona||November 29, 2018|
|Tribe and the Failure to Bring our Veterans Home||CCC ED Talks||November 14, 2018|
|Veterans Day Recognition: Flag Ceremony and Veteran Speaker Panel||CCC Student Development and Veteran Services||November 7, 2018|
|Moral Courage and Moral Injury in War||NAU Martin-Springer Institute and Office of Veterans Affairs||November 5, 2018|
|Poetry Workshop||Museum of Northern Arizona||October 11, 2019|
|Read Feast||CCC OnCourse and Curios Literary Magazines||October 9, 2018|
|Our Lonely Society Makes it Hard to Come Home from War||City of Flagstaff-Coconino County Public Library||October 1, 2018|
Join the conversation. Read the book. Attend an event.
To purchase a copy of the book, please see Sebastian Junger's website.
Contact for Common Read
Common Read Coordinator