UNC-Chapel Hill selects “How Does It Feel To Be A Problem” for 2017 summer reading

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UNC-Chapel Hill selects “How Does it Feel to be a Problem?” for 2017 summer reading


(Chapel Hill, N.C. – May 4, 2017) – “How Does it Feel to be a Problem?,” which introduces readers to young men and women who are navigating college, family and finding purpose as they face stereotypes or clichés tied to their ethnicities, is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s 2017 selection for its Carolina Summer Reading Program.


An eight-person panel consisting of faculty members, staff and students selected critically-acclaimed author Moustafa Bayoumi’s 2008 book, which explores deeper discussions of identity and a concept of otherness in an account of how young Arab- and Muslim-Americans are forging paths for themselves in modern America.


Rita Balaban, senior lecturer of economics and chair of the committee, said this book uses the portraits of young adults to humanize familiar themes that incoming students can relate to “leading to thought-provoking discussions as it increases our awareness of our fellow neighbor’s struggle to just BE.”


“This book justifiably rose to the top of the list because of the light it shines on ethnic differences and how people are treated. One cannot help but wonder, could this happen to me?,” said Balaban. “Bayoumi points out in the preface that the issues facing young Arab-Americans post 9/11 are not new and at many points in America’s history, various other groups have faced similar situations. While most of the incoming students this year were toddlers on September 11th, 2001, they live in a society greatly impacted by those events which they cannot recall first hand.”


First-year and transfer students who enroll at UNC-Chapel Hill this fall are encouraged to read the book this summer and participate in small group discussions during the Week of Welcome before fall 2017 semester classes begin.


Bayoumi will be on campus to give a lecture about the book on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 at 6 pm in Memorial Hall.


The Carolina Summer Reading Program, now in its 19th year, aims to stimulate critical thinking outside the classroom and give new students a shared experience. Students are encouraged to come to their own conclusions about the book and will participate in the Summer Reading discussion groups that serve as an academic icebreaker.


“How Does it Feel to be a Problem?” is available at the Bull’s Head Bookshop in UNC Student Stores at a discounted price of $13.60.


This book has been selected for various group reading and discussions at other colleges and universities across the country, including UNC-Charlotte, University of South Carolina and Northern Kentucky University.


Past selections for the Carolina Summer Reading Program include: “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains” by Nicholas G. Carr, “Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point” by David Lipsky, and “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande.


For more information, visit the Carolina Summer Reading website.



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Photo credit: Neville Elder


About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 110 master’s, 64 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s 317,000-plus alumni live in all 50 states and 156 other countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.


UNC-Chapel Hill Office of University Communications: mediarelations@unc.edu, (919) 962-4515