As some of you know, Shimer has a Social Reading Program that allows us to read together -- even when we are apart. This month, we are reading some material from African American authors, including DuBois, recently discovered to be a Shimerian (kidding, but see here). We hope you will consider joining us.
Here is a basic description of what we call Shimertopia, using Social Book.
SocialBook is a new publishing platform based on the idea that "a book is a place" where readers can congregate. SocialBook makes it very easy to annotate a text and to follow a conversation in the margins. Using SocialBook, Open Utopia allows for readers around the world to annotate the text in the margins and comment on the annotations of other readers, creating a conversation that is both dynamic and preserved for future participants. SocialBook also makes it possible for us to create a specific reading group composed of Shimer faculty, staff, students, and alumni: Shimertopia. Regardless of where you may find yourself , you can still share in a text-centered conversation with other Shimerians.
If you would like to participate in this experience, please first sign up for SocialBook here. SocialBook is entirely free, and in addition to Open Utopia, you will find dozens of other texts that you may read “socially”. Please note that SocialBook works only with Safari or Chrome browsers. It will not function properly with Internet Explorer, Firefox or other browsers. If you do not already have a compatible browser, you can download Safari for Windows here or Google Chrome here. If you use a Mac or I-Pad, Safari should already be installed on your device.
After you have signed up for SocialBook, please email SocialReading@shimer.edu, and ask to be added to the Shimertopia Group.
When you click on the My Group tab, you will be able to follow the comments of other Shimerians in the margin. You may add comments of your own by highlighting a passage in the text and typing your comment which will then appear to all of us in the margin. You may also click “reply” on others’ comments and continue the conversation they have started. Once someone has replied to a comment, that comment cannot be deleted. It becomes part of a permanently preserved conversation about the text.
We know that reading can be a solitary pleasure, and we also know that discussing texts with others is at the heart of Shimer. We hope you will consider joining us -- and spreading the word!
This month, for Black History month, the readings are Chapter 6 ("Of the Training of Black Men) of W.E.B. DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk. I have also added a collection of speeches from African Americans as collected by Alice Moore-Dunbar Nelson. For those of you who enjoy reading plays, I added The Mule-Bone by Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes.