November 11, 2010

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Griot Institute for Africana Studies at Bucknell University is hosting "The Dancing Mind Challenge" on Saturday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. || video

"We're challenging the campus and community to 'unplug' from all distractions and electronics — computers, cell phones, sound devices, television, etc. — for eight 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 several designated spaces: the Willard Smith Library in the Vaughan Literature Building, the main lobby of Dana Engineering, the second floor of the Bertrand Library, and the community space at the Barnes & Noble at Bucknell University bookstore on Market Street. Or, Gillespie said, participants may read at a location of their own choosing.

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. Free food will be provided at the designated locations, except at the bookstore.

After completing the Dancing Mind Challenge, participants will be invited to contribute a reflection to the Challenge Blog, recording their experience during the eight 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, and the English Club.

"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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