November 14, 2011


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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Griot Institute for Africana Studies at Bucknell University is hosting the second "Dancing Mind Challenge" on Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to noon and continuing from 1 to 4 p.m.

"We're challenging the campus and community to 'unplug' from all distractions and electronics — computers, cell phones, sound devices, television, etc. — for six consecutive hours and commit to spending that time reading," said Carmen Gillespie, professor of English and director of the Griot Institute.

"We are living in an age of technological transformation where we are increasingly involved with electronics as a primary means of communication and expression. What are the impacts of these changes on our thinking and on our intellectual development?"

Participants may undertake the challenge at one of two designated spaces — Walls Lounge in the Elaine Langone Center and Room 001 in Vedder Hall — or participants may read at a location of their own choosing. Last year, 118 students, faculty, staff and community members participated.

Exercise in self-reflection
Inspired by Toni Morrison's reflections in her essay, "The Dancing Mind," the challenge is an exercise in self-reflection and a personal litmus test, an intellectual marathon, that will allow participants to engage fully in the act of reading — the dance of the mind.

Interested parties are asked to register prior to the event; however, late participants may register on site. Participants will receive a pin to wear on the day of the challenge.

After completing the Dancing Mind Challenge, participants will be invited to contribute a reflection to the Challenge Blog, recording their experience during the six hours of the challenge.

The Dancing Mind Challenge is a partnership between the Griot Institute, the English department, Library and Information Technology, Multicultural Student Services, the University Press, the English Club and the Stadler Center for Poetry.

"We encourage participants in the Dancing Mind Challenge to make a $10 pledge to the American Library Association's Haiti Library Relief Fund," added Gillespie. "This contribution is not required in order to participate in the challenge. Information about how to make a contribution can be found on the Challenge registration page."

Contact: Division of Communications

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