Palomar College’s English department will be hosting a newly created book seminar once a month during the fall semester.
The inaugural theme for the seminar is “Race and Identity in American Literature.” This free event was started by the English Department to create an outlet for the community and reach out to people to discuss works of literature. The main idea is for these seminars to encourage engagement and show that Palomar and the department have a lot to offer its students.
Professor Adam Meehan hosted the first seminar on Sept. 8. Meehan presented F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” to an attentive audience. “It contains everything about American history, not much different than what it is today,” Meehan said of the novel.
The seminar included a brief overview and details about the author, the novel’s main purpose and an open discussion period where selected questions were given to the audience to discuss.
Meehan said that the semester’s theme and the novel relate in that the American novel contains themes relevant to those today. Additionally, he discussed that the theme for this semester is relevant right now to current events such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the current dialogue on social disparities and the theme that race is an issue in America.
Meehan suggested anyone attend for an opportunity to engage with peers and expand their horizon without the pressure of a course.
Stacy Contreras, a 21-year-old Palomar student, was in attendance at the first seminar and thought the novel was interesting and the conversation around race “made you think.”
“A lot of people felt enthusiastic, felt motivated and had fun while reading and really got into it,” Contreras said. Contreras recommended attending the next one.
The seminars are held once a month on Palomar’s San Marcos campus in room HS 207 from 6-8 p.m. No appointment is necessary, each book seminar will be hosted by a different professor providing a different point of view and insights for an open discussion.
The book seminars will be held Oct. 6 with Professor Richard Hishmeh, Nov. 10 with Professor Clare Rolens and Dec. 8 with Professor Martin Japtok. The novel’s of discussion will be Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Nella Larsen’s “Passing” and James Weldon Johnson’s “The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man” respectively.