Common Reading Events

Photo of author Robin Wall Kimmerer leaning against a tree trunk

Author's Talk With Robin Wall Kimmerer

January 24, 2022

Join Common Reading and author Robin Wall Kimmerer as she gives a virtual talk on the 2021/22 AY selection, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a citizen of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces plants and animals as our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together through her memoir of living in the natural world and practicing heart-centered science.

Drawing on her life as an Indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In a rich braid of reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.

Watch the event:


Kim Johnson Photo


A Conversation with Author Kimberly Johnson

Thursday, February 11 at 4:00pm to 5:20pm

Virtual Event Zoom Link:

You will be asked to sign in with your Zoom ID.

Author Kimberly Johnson discusses favorite characters, themes, and writing process for her debut novel, THIS IS MY AMERICA, an unflinching yet uplifting story that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system. Session includes Q/A opportunity from the audience to engage with the author.

Kimberly Johnson is currently the UO Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Advising as well as a UO alum. Her book, This is My America is the featured selection of UO Common Reading during Winter 2021.

Facilitator: Doneka Scott, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Student Success.

Nikole Hannah-Jones Event

Nikole Hannah-Jones on "1619 and the Legacy That Built a Nation"

 Friday, February 19 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm Virtual Event


As the lead writer for New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project,” a major viral multimedia initiative observing the 400th anniversary of the first African slaves arriving in America, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones explores the lasting legacy of Black enslavement on the nation—specifically, how Black Americans pushed for the democracy we have today.

About the Event

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, the Office of the PresidentOffice of the ProvostDivision of Equity and Inclusion, the UO Common Reading, the UO Student Services and Enrollment Management, and the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center. The annual UO School of Journalism and Communication Ruhl Lecture brings the most influential voices in mass communication to campus.


A photo of Michelle Obama's book BECOMING, with information about an upcoming conversation event

In Conversation with Michelle Obama

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Through its Common Reading Program, the University of Oregon has been invited to attend Michelle Obama’s only higher education appearance of the year where she will discuss her memoir, “Becoming.”

The discussion will focus on themes from Obama’s book and include topics about owning your story, finding your voice, unseen history, support systems, and challenges of first-generation and minority students.

With the support of UO President Michael H. Schill, the Division of Undergraduate Education and Student Success, and the Oregon Humanities Center’s Endowment for Public Outreach in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, the Common Reading Program will send one student representative to attend the event in Washington, D.C. The student also will have the unique opportunity to ask the former first lady a question, on behalf of the UO.

Registration details can be found in the UO Events calendar listing.