Global Literature Online Book Group

The Global Studies Outreach Committee is excited to announce the 2014-2015 Global Literature Online Book Group for Educators (GLOBE), the focus of which is crossing borders in time and place. GLOBE allows participants to discuss contemporary fiction that uses memory and travel to explore individual and social change.

Our four book choices illustrate that memories of the past shape the lives of individuals around the globe. In our first book, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, a Chechen man is surrounded by the legacies of war and works to understand the personal impact of a public fight. In our second book, The Sound of Things Falling, a young law professor in Colombia becomes entangled in the shadows surrounding the country’s illicit drug trade. In Brooklyn Heights, an Egyptian woman living in Brooklyn recalls her past with her Bedouin family. As the series concludes, we will depart from Northern India to join an epic journey across oceans and throughout the 19th century opium trade in Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies.    

In each live, online conversation you will hear from two regions or disciplines in conversation, as we explore regional context and history through contemporary narrative. Each session will include the opportunity for participant discussion and Q&A through video, audio, and text. Guiding questions and learning goals will be provided prior to each session, as well as accompanying non-fiction texts for suggested use in the classroom.

Registration is now open for our first session on A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra.

Books selected for the global book group are intended to engage educators and community members in a discussion about global issues and the use of literature in the classroom.  Although teachers may use some of these texts with students, others may not be appropriate for the grade levels they teach.   
 
Through literary texts and accompanying non-fiction readings, the GLOBE is designed for participants to explore how knowledge of history and understanding of literature can mutually strengthen one another.  Together they support educators in developing a more critical and robust ability to engage with contemporary global issues.    
 
Through these readings participants will be asked to consider:

How does the past, and memory of the past, shape both individual characters in the novel, and the place(s) in which their story unfolds?

How is the past represented in the novel? What do these choices say about the relationship between past and present, and the possibilities for change and transformation?

In what ways do the fiction and non-fiction readings help you to understand these themes in different ways? How do they inform one another?  


The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts stress the importance of literature as a tool to advance global competencies:  

“Students appreciate that the twenty-first-century classroom and workplace are settings in which people from often widely divergent cultures and who represent diverse experiences and perspectives must learn and work together. Students actively seek to understand other perspectives and cultures through reading and listening, and they are able to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds. They evaluate other points of view critically and constructively. Through reading great classic and contemporary works of literature representative of a variety of periods, cultures, and worldviews, students can vicariously inhabit worlds and have experiences much different than their own.”
 
The State Standards (CCSS) additionally call for an increase in text-level engagement and emphasize the role of non-fiction and informational text in the development of, and goals for, student reading comprehension.  The combined literary narratives and non-fiction texts support educators and students in engaging with the following standards:

Common Core State Standards: Reading Literature: Craft and Structure


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.6   
Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1.C
Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.4:
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.2  
Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

Each online session will be conducted in an Adobe Connect virtual classroom space  and can be accessed from any computer equipped with the latest version of Flash.  Before a session, test your internet connection and version of Flash for compatibility with AdobeConnect at this diagnostic link.  Sessions include live audio and video, and participants have the option to interact via their own mic and webcam or via text in a live chat box.