Campus Theme 2009-2010

Campus Theme and One Book One Campus Premier event
Alex Kotlowitz, author of the One Book, One Campus selection, There Are No Children Here
Monday, November 2, 2009 7:00pm
Location: Northside 158
Interview with Alex Kotlowitz [ MP3 ]

The Campus Theme is an effort to focus campus and community events on a single topic that can reach across disciplines and foster interesting dialogues. Through a coordinated program of lectures, exhibits, performances, and other events co-sponsored by various campus schools, departments, and organizations, we can build an interrelated learning community that explores issues of social importance from a variety of viewpoints.

The Urban and the Rural

The urban versus the rural, the center versus the periphery, Wall Street versus Main Street, red state versus blue state, capital versus province, small town versus big city, the elite versus the folk, town versus gown, the cosmopolitan versus the bucolic, the sophisticated versus the simple. These geographical and cultural conflicts have become commonplace ways of dividing polities, economies, and societies. Although we find these conflicts in America today, some of them are rooted in earlier disputes, such as the conflict between town and country in eighteenth-century England; and similar clashes appear over the globe and throughout history. One recent example could be seen in the United States political campaign of 2008, with its clash over the definition of American values and the people who supposedly embody them: where is the real America and is its future best represented by small town life and "Joe the Plumber" or is it better reflected in urban and educational centers? While we might be familiar with this latest instance of this conflict, it is merely one more in a centuries’ long debate about differing values, lives lived, and problems faced in urban areas as opposed to small towns and rural areas. The campus theme holds up these distinctions for consideration, reflecting on where they might be helpful and when they are distractions, even disingenuous. This theme can be addressed in economics, culture, racial and ethnic challenges, demographics, health-care, education, the arts, religion, and even public policy regarding scientific research. Finally, the theme encourages consideration of how demographic and technological changes such as the growth of suburbs and exurbs, the internet, globalization of the economy and environmental damage, challenge the meaning and value of these types of distinctions.

Fall Premiere Event: Alex Kotlowitz, author of the One Book, One Campus selection, There Are No Children Here
Campus Theme Series Speaker
Monday, November 2
7:00 PM
Northside 158

Get Involved

Share your ideas for:

  1. Relevant class offerings
  2. Links to the One Book One Campus program for "The Origin of Species"
  3. Campus events (speakers, panels, debates, films, concerts, exhibits)
  4. Community connections

To get involved or share your ideas contact Nancy Botkin ( and Dr. Steven Gerencser (

Proposed Future Campus Themes

2009-10 Campus Theme Coordinators

Nancy Botkin, Senior Lecturer, English
Steven Gerencser, Associate Professor, Political Science

Campus Theme Advisory Committee