As part of Hampshire College's commitment to anti-racist pedagogy, we have established the New York Times Magazine's 1619 Project as the Common Read for 2020-2021. The Common Read is a piece of writing that all members of our academic community read in preparation for discussions and events that take place over the course of the academic year. New students in particular should expect the Common Read to be referenced in some of their courses and assignments.
Conceived and edited by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nicole Hannah Jones, the New York Times Magazine Project 1619 contains a wide array of articles, literary pieces and podcasts that explore the profound impact that the institution of chattel slavery had on the political, economic and cultural institutions of the United States and visibilize black Americans’ contribution to the wealth and democracy through their resistance, innovation, and advocacy.
Since Project 1619 contains many components, we are asking incoming students to engage materials that relate to their Division I seminar topic.
All new students at Hampshire will be expected to engage with the 1619 Project. Below is some specific information about the various ways you may find yourself exploring the concepts and content in the Fall 2020 term, though all Hampshire students are encouraged to dig deeper and learn more. Non satis scire: to know is not enough.
The new student orientation will include a brief discussion of Project 1619. This discussion will be facilitated by the faculty and staff who teach your Division I seminar. To facilitate the quality of the discussion, we suggest you create a visual, audio, or written response to specific elements of the series. Consider what image, example, or phrase resonated with you? You could jot some thoughts in your journal, write a poem, record a song, dance segment or spoken word poem. You could utilize a range of media platforms such as tick tock and instagram or simply write your thoughts in a journal.
Students enrolled in the Division I seminar, "Pandemics," will focus on reading Nicole Hannah Jones' Introduction (14), Linda Villarosa's article, "Myths about Physical Racial Differences," (56), and Yaa Gyasi's "1932, the United States Public Health Service," (68) and the podcast series titled, "How the Bad Blood Started." These four pieces chronicle the ways in which the emergence of modern medicine in the United States is deeply entangled with the exploitation of African American laboring bodies.
Students enrolled in the Division I seminar, "Addressing Climate Change," will focus on Nicole Hannah Jones' Introduction (14), Khalil Gilbran Muhammad's "The Sugar that saturates the American diet," (70) and the two podcasts for Episode 5 titled "Land of our Fathers part 1," and "Land of our Fathers part 2." Muhammad’s article highlights the Whitney Plantation Museum and the indelible imprint of enslaved laborers in the Louisiana cane fields and sugar factories of the past and the present. Land of Our Fathers tells the story of June and Angie Provost, both descended from a long line of sugar cane farmers, as a way to convey both the yearning of African Americans for land ownership and the profound suffering associated with the Louisiana cane fields.
We are asking transfer students to focus their reading on specific writings contained in the 1619 Project. Links to the entire NYT Magazine issue and the podcasts are provided above, and in this section you can find specific suggestions for directing your reading and listening.
Please take a moment to document your responses to these materials. You may choose from a range of modes of expression, including journal writing, or posting a photo, poem, or dance segment on Instagram or tik tok. These are meant to be brief responses that allow you to enter into a conversation about the Project during orientation.
The Pulitzer Center has gathered reading guides, activities, and other resources related to learning the true history that informed the 1619 Project. The full list is available at the Pulitzer Center 1619 website. Some resources of note include:
This resource guide was created using: