NYU Reads brings the NYU community together around a single, shared reading chosen by a University committee of faculty, student, and administrator representatives. Building on our undergraduate schools’ first-year reading programs, NYU Reads extends this dialogue beyond Welcome Week and opens it to the entire University community. This year’s selection is Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. The book engages the readers in a multitude of relevant and poignant themes, including those related to justice: social, environmental, technological, and their intersections.
A research guide was created to engage the campus community with the book and related resources to facilitate creative and dynamic discussions organized around themes of interest, connection, and transformative change. The guide was curated in partnership with the Office of the Provost and NYU Libraries and was created by Farha Najah Hussain, a speech-language therapist and second-year PhD Candidate in Rehabilitation at New York University’ School of Culture, Education, and Human Development in collaboration with Gracelaine Osborne (staff, Avery Fisher Center for Music and Media) and Lauren S Kehoe (Accessibility and Accommodations Librarian), with the support of the NYU Reads Committee.
The guide is available to support faculty with their assigned readings and for students seeking inspiration on how to approach the text. Each tab and subtab in the research guide is named after a specific theme. Each theme is supplemented with various resources, including articles, books, databases, films, journals, organizations, and videos.
The guide aims to discuss themes that were deemed to be relevant for the NYU community, and beyond, in light of the current global context. This perspective is timely as we continue to experience relations of dominance/power at interpersonal and nation-state levels. We also continue to witness, historically and contemporarily, the severe consequences that humans and our profit-driven systems have on the environment and Indigenous lands. The guide also weaves in related themes and resources from past NYU Reads titles Braiding Sweetgrass and Just Mercy, such as resources related to Indigenous and Native history and Black Lives Matter. Farha's intention was build upon previous work as a form of connection, which she asserts is an important theme from the book for her to reflect on:
“I was inspired to be immersed in all the relevant themes that Klara and the Sun offers. Communication, connection, creativity, and social justice are themes whose relationships to each other are of particular interest to me. As a social and communication scientist, I was intrigued by the ways Klara communicated to other characters to better understand her own role and existence in the world. I was also interested in the ways Josie found a sense of comfort with Klara, and the ways in which Josie and Rick communicated and deepened their relationship with each other using art.
The story left me with many questions, and I'm curious about where such individual and collective reflections will lead us as this relates to a shared sense of humanity and justice.
How do these characters find connection to each other? How do they experience belonging? What lessons can we learn from the story and our current world about the way people experience belonging/the ways we do not experience belonging?
Creating this guide was insightful as someone who is simultaneously a(n) artist, therapist, researcher, student, and educator. "
For more information about NYU Reads University programming, please visit the NYU Reads webpage.