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Common Reading 2019: Home


SU THEME 2019-2020

The Power of Stories

Humans, both individually and collectively, are story-making and story-telling creatures. Stories shape powerfully who we are, what we believe, and how we act—for both good and ill.  


Stories can be very short. For example, as individuals, we may tell ourselves, “I’m no good,” “I can do anything I set out to do,” or “I am so afraid of others finding out who I really am.”  


But stories can also be long, complex, and durable. Think of the stories supportive of patriarchal privilege, evolution, American exceptionalism, globalization. 


In considering the power of stories, we will examine both the sources of stories and their impacts. We will explore what it means to question our stories, and we will analyze the difficulties and challenges involved in letting go of false and hurtful stories and embracing new and helpful ones. 


Theme proposed by Karla Bohmbach, Professor of Religious Studies

The Why Factor: Why Do Stories Matter?


Dear Reader,

This online guide is here to help you understand the texts in The Power of Stories: Susquehanna University Common Reading 2019-2020. The Power of Stories was chosen as Susquehanna University's 2019-2020 theme because stories shape the lives of our students, faculty, and staff everyday. It's important to engage with the concept of stories and think about just why they play such an important role in our lives.

As you join a campus community with a common mission, which is "to educate students for productive, creative and reflective lives of achievement, leadership and service in a diverse, dynamic and interdependent world," we hope that you'll also join us in thinking about the impact of stories on our society and ourselves. In this guide, there are discussion questions, author biographies, additional resources, and in-class activities to help you interact with and learn more about the selected texts. 

We hope these resources are helpful to you and that you finish this semester with broader views and ideas. We chose the video in the link below for this landing page because it touches on why stories are so important to us and how stories can help all of us in the future. We wish you the best of luck.

Best Regards,

Victoria Dunn and Joanna Messineo, Teaching Guide Editorial Interns 2018-2019






Dr. Keith E. Edwards is a scholar and educator who has spoken on college campuses about assault preventions, men’s identity, social justice education, curricular approaches beyond the classroom, and leadership over the past 18 years. He has spoken and consulted at over 200 colleges and universities, presented over 200 programs at national conferences, and has written more than 20 articles or book chapters on these issues. He also co-edited the book Addressing Sexual Violence in Higher Education.




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