SUMMER READING PROGRAM
The Summer Reading Program is an opportunity for incoming students to participate in a shared intellectual conversation with the IWU community; to express ideas about a common text that many IWU students, faculty, staff, and alumni are reading; and to respond respectfully to ideas others bring to the discussion. IWU is committed to the Summer Reading Program because reading, as well as reflecting, discussing, and writing critically are central to the mission of our liberal arts college.
The Advising and Summer Reading Committee, in coordination with the University's Speakers Committee, has selected Outcasts United (2009) by Warren St. John for the 2013 Summer Reading Program. The University's mission encompasses a comprehensive worldview toward citizenship and globalization, as well as a commitment toward social justice and the value of diversity. Consistent with this mission, St. John’s story of the refugees and their struggle to assimilate and succeed in American culture—and those in Clarkston who either chose to adapt or resist the changes the refugees brought to their community—raises awareness and inspires questions and insights about social justice and immigration, diversity, and the impact of globalization.
Students are expected to purchase and read Outcasts United over the summer of 2013, as well as complete the guided reading questions. Written responses should be brought to the Wednesday, August 21 small group discussions during Turning Titan: New Student Orientation.
About the book:
The true story of a unique soccer team, Outcasts United is a multi-layered account of the refugee and host community experience, exploring issues of identity, family, racism, and cultural adaptation from both sides of the equation. The town of Clarkston, Georgia has become a hub for the settlement of refugees from war torn countries, bringing globalization to the doorsteps of wary and traditional residents. With tough love and perseverance, Luma Mufleh—soccer coach and an immigrant herself—carves out a youth soccer team (the Fugees) among the culturally disparate refugees in Clarkston and creates community for herself and her players. Outcasts United tells the story of the transformative power of Luma and the Fugee’s remarkable dedication, determination, and resilience in the face of resistance and overwhelming odds.
About the author:
Warren St. John has written for the New York Observer, The New Yorker, Wired and Slate, in addition to his work as a reporter for The New York Times. His first book, Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Journey into the Heart of Fan Mania (2004), was named one of Sports Illustrated’s best books of the year, and ranked number one on The Chronicle of Higher Education''s list of the best books ever written about collegiate athletics. His second book, Outcasts United: An American Town, A Refugee Team, and One Woman''s Quest to Make a Difference was published in the U.S. in April 2009, and subsequently in the U.K., The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Japan and China. St. John was born in Birmingham, Alabama, where he attended The Altamont School. He studied English literature at Columbia College in New York City, where he now lives with his wife and daughter. (Biography retrieved from http://outcastsunited.com/content/about-warren-st-john)