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Reading TUgether

Monday, April 10, 2017

Evicted is chosen as the 2017 Reading TUgether book

by Carlos Anchondo '14

Trinity University is proud to announce the 2017 Reading TUgether selection - Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. Each year, the University community shares a joint reading experience through the Reading TUgether program, where students, staff, and faculty are all encouraged to read a single book. Grounded in years of embedded fieldwork and data, Evicted is a sociological study that reads like a novel. Desmond tells the story of eight families in Milwaukee low-income neighborhoods and the landlords in their lives.  

On Wednesday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m., Desmond will deliver the Reading TUgether keynote lecture in Laurie Auditorium. The presentation is free and open to the public. Desmond is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences and co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project at Harvard University. His primary research interests focus around poverty, race and ethnicity, urban sociology, social theory, and ethnography.

Tim O’Sullivan, professor of classical studies and interim associate vice president for Academic Affairs, is a member of the Reading TUgether committee. He says the book was chosen to “shine a light on the debilitating impact of insecure housing” in the modern United States.

“We want our students to be able to grapple with some of the most important issues in contemporary life,” O’Sullivan says. “Reading a book that draws attention to the issue of housing in such an effective way is a great learning opportunity for us.”

In addition to the keynote address, students will incorporate Evicted into the classroom. Alfred Montoya, professor of sociology and anthropology, is planning to use the book in the social justice first-year experience (FYE) during the fall 2017 semester. Christine Drennon, professor of sociology and anthropology and director of the urban studies program, is working to invite members of the local housing authority and area school boards to the lecture. Students will also have the opportunity to meet with Desmond personally in smaller events.

What’s more, O’Sullivan says Evicted offers a “fantastic model for anyone interested in field research or interview-based research,” a method employed by a number of disciplines.

“It’s quite extraordinary how Desmond has taken interviews and embedded research experience and turned it into such a compelling story,” O’Sullivan says. “It’s an academic work that comes across as powerful journalism, even powerful creative non-fiction.”

In recent years, Reading TUgether books have included Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss, The Circle by Dave Eggers, Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong by Raymond Bonner, and The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. First-year Trinity students are required to read the Reading TUgether selection and to attend the lecture as part of New Student Orientation.

Carlos Anchondo is a writer and editor for University Marketing and Communications. He is a 2014 graduate of Trinity and can be found at @cjanchondo or at canchond [at] trinity.edu.