Penn Reading Project
The Council of Undergraduate
Deans, Office of the Provost, and College Houses and Academic
Services are pleased to announce
that Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point will be
the text for this year's Penn Reading Project (PRP). On the
afternoon of Sunday, September 5, 2004, groups of first-year
students and faculty leaders will join together for discussion
as part of New Student Orientation.
Described by its author, a noted staff writer for The New
Yorker, as "an intellectual adventure story," The
Tipping Point examines why things change and how trends
come and go. In exploring these questions, Gladwell applies
principles of epidemiology. The reason for these various
trends, he explains, is "that ideas and behavior and messages
and products sometimes behave just like outbreaks of infectious
diseaseŠ. The Tipping Point is an examination of
the social epidemics that surround us."
The Tipping Point is
PRP's first non-fiction book in
several years, and its broad range of topics‹including social
and cultural phenomena ranging from Paul Revere's Revolutionary
midnight ride to the success of Sesame Street to the
retro fashion craze for Hush Puppies‹should allow for lively
conversation across disciplinary lines.
PRP, now in its 14th year, was
created as an introduction for incoming freshmen to academic
life at Penn. The sessions
(3-4:30 p.m.) are preceded by three lectures by prominent
faculty members (details will be available in early summer).
There will be other supporting activities, including a festival
of related films shown on Penn Video Network.
As in past years, the selection
was made by a committee of faculty, staff and students,
and included representatives from all
four undergraduate schools. This year, the committee
was chaired by Mark Liberman, professor of linguistics, Faculty
Master of Ware College House and Chair of the Residential
Faculty Council. Past books include The Quiet American (Greene), Things
Fall Apart (Achebe), Candide (Voltaire), Metamorphosis (Kafka), The
Woman Warrior (Kingston), Frankenstein (Shelley),
and Arcadia (Stoppard).
More information on The Tipping Point, as well as PRP
and its history can be found at: www.collegehouses.upenn.edu/prp/.
Faculty members in all 12 schools are invited to take part as
PRP discussion leaders. A copy of the text will be sent to
discussion leaders and students in July, along with additional
information about the Reading Project.
For more information, and to volunteer as a
PRP session leader, contact: David Fox, PRP director, at
(215) 573-5636 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Almanac, Vol. 50, No.
April 27, 2004