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Humanities Reads

Faculty teaching courses in the humanities, or courses with a central humanities-related component, are invited to consider adopting this year's common humanities text as part of their assigned reading and discussion material.

2017-2018 Selection

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

This year's common book for the Humanities Reads series is Matthew Desmond’s, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (2017).

In Evicted, sociologist and MacArthur fellow Matthew Desmond follows the lives of eight Milwaukee families as they struggle to maintain housing and navigate the day-to-day challenges of poverty in America.

In her New York Times Book Review, Barbara Ehrenreich describes Evicted as "astonishing." She claims Desmond as not only a researcher but a journalist.

As one Drake nominator wrote, "Every once in awhile we read a book that is transformative and, the lyrical yet brutally honest, Evicted transformed the way I look at the relationship between poverty and housing in America. Tracing the lives of eight Milwaukee individuals and families (black, white, Latino), . . .This is a book that interweaves discourses on race, gender, and class as it redefines, through 'thick description,' previous notions of American poverty."

The Center has purchased a limited number of copies of Evicted to be shared with any member of the Drake community who would like to take part in Humanities Reads! The Center is also prepared to make copies available to faculty assigning the work in their classes. Please contact the Director if you would like a review copy and/or if you have plans to teach the book in fall 2017 or spring 2018.

Past Humanities Reads books have included:

  • Kiese Laymon's How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America
  • Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams
  • Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks
  • George Saunders's In Persuasion Nation
  • Phoebe Gloeckner's Diary of a Teenage Girl
  • J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace.


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