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During orientation, on Friday, September 4 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. you will be joining your orientation group and a faculty member to discuss the common reading. The book discussion during orientation is a way to begin creating an intellectual community among your peers and bring new students into discussion around a topic of social, scientific, artistic or political significance. Justice is a value at the core of a Hampshire College education and this year we have selected The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin to provide a lens into racial justice.
James Baldwin was one of the most important African-American intellectuals of the twentieth century. In his novels, essays, and plays he explored the themes of race and sexuality in unprecedentedly complex and provocative terms. The Fire Next Time, published in 1963 at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, is widely considered to be one of the most brilliant essays on the history of Black protest and race relations in the United States. Baldwin came to teach at Hampshire College in the mid-1980s, not long before his untimely death in 1987. Hampshire's James Baldwin Scholars Program, which provides scholarships to talented students from underserved communities, was founded in his honor. We chose this book as our common reading in recognition of his continuing legacy at Hampshire and the world.
Incoming students will receive a copy of the text by mail in June.