Topics for recent Book in Common selections have ranged from the social injustice that followed a fatal plane crash to the dangers of distracted driving and the global impact of climate change. Next year, the book will tackle the topic of race.

Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist” has been chosen as the Book in Common for the 2020–21 academic year, to be read and discussed by the students, faculty, and staff of California State University, Chico and Butte College, as well as the broader community.

Kendi, a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, leads the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University and writes frequently for The Atlantic, The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education. In “How to Be an Antiracist,” he explores ethics, history, law and science, blending it together in a cogent, accessible form. Chapter titles like “Biology,” “Class,” “Space,” “Gender” and “Success” offer a glimpse into the scope of analysis, and provide accessible routes into the conversation from a range of disciplines.

California State University, Chico President Gayle Hutchinson believes the book is a bold and timely selection with the potential to advance difficult and vital conversations on campuses and within the community.

“Selecting a Book in Common that centers on race will undoubtedly be unsettling for some, and the committee reflected deeply about this,” she said. “We believe the approach and tone of the book, which does not deal in guilt or partisanship, provide tools for self-examination and strategies to put antiracism into practice.”

The Book in Common is a shared community read designed to promote discussion and understanding of important issues. It is chosen each year by a group of CSU, Chico and Butte College faculty and staff, as well as members of the local community. As in past years, Butte College, CSU, Chico, the City of Chico and Butte County will sponsor panel discussions, lectures and other public events to celebrate and promote the Book in Common.

Laura Nice, lecturer in CSU, Chico’s Department of Comparative Religion and Humanities, noted that “How to be Antiracist” has the potential to facilitate transformative educational experiences for students, faculty and staff, among whom there is obviously a diversity of opinion on this subject.

“This choice will show that the University’s strategic priority of equity, diversity and inclusion is not just a slogan but something we actively build through courageous conversations,” Nice said. “We know there are capable campus and community partners to help enable these conversations.”

Learn more about the Book in Common at www.csuchico.edu/bic.