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Colgate Community Reads 2015

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon has been chosen by faculty, staff, and current students as the Colgate Community Reads summer book for the 2015-16 academic year.

About the Program

Colgate invites all students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the Hamilton community to read a work of literature in preparation for the upcoming academic year. Throughout the year, all are then invited to an interdisciplinary series of campus-wide events that will explore the themes of the book more fully and engage the community in a sustained dialogue with the text.

Summer Reading

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America
by Kiese Laymon

In this powerful book of essays, Professor Laymon explores what it means to "slowly kill yourself and others" through his own lived experiences, those of family members, and public figures.  He coaxes the reader to experience the world from his perspective and that of others who are the frequent victims of systematic racism, marginalization, and oppression to more fully consider what may appear to be self-destructive personal behaviors.  In so doing, Laymon asks us not to turn away from these dehumanizing systems and the violence they inflict, but to face the psychological, relational, and gendered torment these systems perpetuate.

At Colgate's 194th commencement, Professor Eddie Glaude challenged the Colgate community to "fail better" by having the courage to "turn our backs on racial hatred, on sexism, on homophobia, on all forms of prejudice that deny the dignity and standing of every human being."  With a sustained emotional and intellectual exploration of Laymon's text, the Colgate community fully embraces Professor Glaude's challenge and summons the courage to transform Colgate's culture.
How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America book cover

Keynote Event

Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon

Keynote Lecture
Join us in welcoming Associate Professor of English at Vassar College and author Kiese Laymon to campus to discuss his work, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.
  • Tuesday, October 27
  • 7:30 p.m.
  • Memorial Chapel


Related Events

Tracie Morris

Tracie Morris

Poet
Women's Studies Brown Bag
  • Thursday, September 24
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • East Hall, Center for Women's Studies
Lecture: "The Literary Canon and African American Aesthetics in Poetry"
  • Thursday, September 24
  • 4:30 p.m.
  • Lawrence Hall, Ho Lecture Room
  • Core 152, English, Educational Studies, Student organizations
Valerie Purdie-Vaughns

Valerie Purdie-Vaughns

Columbia U.; Director of the Laboratory of Intergroup Relations and the Social Mind
Lecture: "Identity Matters: How Stereotypes Affect Where We Live, Study, and Play"
  • Friday, September 25
  • 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
  • Love Auditorium
  • NASC Division Colloquium

Black and white image of man talking to a woman on a porch

Created Equal: The Loving Story

Film screening and public discussion
(dir. Nancy Buirski, 2011, 77 min)
Discussion facilitated by Suzanne Spring
Colgate U.; Senior Lecturer in Writing and Rhetoric; Coordinator of Second Language Writing; Director, LGBTQ Program
  • Thursday, October 1
  • 6:30 p.m.
  • Hamilton Public Library
  • Sponsored by: National Endowment for the Humanities; Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History; Sponsored by the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Learn more

Michael Jeffries

Michael Jeffries

Wellesley College; Associate Professor of American Studies
Lecture
  • Friday, October 2nd
  • Time TBD
  • Location TBD
W.E.B. Du Bois

W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices

Film screening
(dir. Louis Massiah, 1995, 116 min)

  • Friday, October 2
  • 5:00 p.m.
  • Golden Auditorium
  • Friday Night Film Series

Louis Massiah

Louis Massiah

Scribe Video Center, Founder and Executive Director
Lecture
  • Monday, October 5
  • 7:00 p.m.
  • Golden Auditorium
  • Africana and Latin American Studies Day Lecture

Archival photo of African American men in striped prison outfits

Created Equal: Slavery by Another Name

Film screening and public discussion
(dir. Samuel D. Pollard, 2012, 90 min)
Discussion facilitated by Norman K. Dann, PhD
National Abolition Hall of Fame; Author/Biographer; Historian
  • Thursday, October 8
  • 6:30 p.m.
  • Hamilton Public Library
  • Sponsored by: National Endowment for the Humanities; Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History; Sponsored by the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Learn more

A group of Freedom Riders

Created Equal: Freedom Riders

Film screening and public discussion
(dir. Stanley Nelson, 2010, 117 min)
Discussion facilitated by Timothy McLaughlin, PhD
National Abolition Hall of Fame; Historian
  • Thursday, October 15
  • 6:30 p.m.
  • Hamilton Public Library
  • Sponsored by: National Endowment for the Humanities; Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History; Sponsored by the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Learn more

Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine

Pomona College; Henry G. Lee Professor of English, Author/Poet
Lecture
  • Wednesday, October 21
  • 4:30 p.m.
  • Love Auditorium
  • Sio Lecture

Kenneth Warren

Kenneth Warren

University of Chicago; Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of English
Lecture: "African American Literature and the Challenge of Modernism"
  • Thursday, October 22
  • 4:15 p.m.
  • Location TBD
Hana van der Kolk

Hana van der Kolk

Dancer/Artist
Lecture
  • Wednesday, November 4
  • 4:30 p.m.
  • Golden Auditorium
  • Arts Colloquium, Christian A. Johnson Artists in Residence
Performances: Spaces Between Us/The In-Between Spaces
Performing with Colgate students
  • Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7
  • 8:00 p.m.
  • To be determined
  • Presented by the Colgate Arts Council, Christian A. Johnson Artists in Residence

Aldon Morris

Aldon Morris

Northwestern University; Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies
Lecture
  • Wednesday, November 11th
  • 4:15 p.m.
  • 27 Persson Hall
Lawrence Hill

Lawrence Hill

Author
Lecture
  • Thursday, November 12
  • 4:30 p.m.
  • Lawrence Hall, Ho Lecture Room
  • W.E.B. DuBois Lecture

Shante Smalls

Shanté Smalls

St. Johns University; Assistant Professor of African-American Literature and Culture
Lecture
  • Tuesday, November 17
  • 4:15 p.m.
  • Lawrence Hall, Ho Lecture Room
  • Humanities Colloquium