LEWISTON — The Lewiston Public Library will host a reading and discussion series this fall titled “Violence and Belonging: The 14th Amendment and American Literature.”

The series will meet at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month through January, beginning Sept. 6.

“Violence and Belonging” is the newest of several book discussion programs offered through the Maine Humanities Council’s “Let’s Talk About It” series. LPL will be one of two libraries to debut this series, made possible through support from the council.

Discussion facilitator will be Eden Osucha, associate professor of English at Bates College. She also serves on the faculty of the programs in women and gender studies, American cultural studies, and African-American studies.

In describing this new series, Osucha writes:

“By any account, we are still living out the reverberations of the transformative moment that gave rise to the Fourteenth Amendment. Its 150th anniversary coincides with a presidential election year in which the nature and meaning of race and the significance of the nation’s history of slavery are of urgent popular concern. In examining the legacies of the Fourteenth Amendment for the nation’s literary history, this reading and discussion series looks at books that address issues of diversity, identity, and inequality in exploring how, for many Americans, the promise of citizenship falls short of their lived reality.”

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“Once in a Promised Land” by Laila Halaby will be discussed on Sept. 6.

The book concerns the relationship of Jassim and Salwa Haddad, a childless Jordanian couple living in Arizona in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Through this portrait of wholly assimilated immigrants who no longer feel welcome in their chosen country, readers glimpse how the spectacular violence of terrorist attacks on the other side of the country becomes much closer to home, a rallying cry for a paranoid and xenophobic brand of patriotism.

Other titles included in the series are: 

• “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich;

• “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisii Coates;

• “A Map of Home” by Randa Jarrar; and

• “Marrow of Tradition” by Charles Chesnutt.

Participation in the program series is limited and preregistration is required.

To register: 207-513-3135, [email protected]


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