Participating in Reading Liberty last semester was so rewarding, says Christina Palahnuk, that she has already signed up for this semester’s sessions.
A graduate student of philosophy, she enjoyed her experience with the group led by political science professor Lydia Miljan, giving students the opportunity to explore a set of readings on the intellectual underpinnings of a free society without the stress of grades or assignments.
“The group size is great for discussions,” Palahnuk says. “Everyone can get involved and be heard. It isn’t intimidating — plus, it’s always good to read some books outside your program, especially something with no pressure.”
First-year languages student Jason Leung says last semester’s book, The Infidel and The Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith and the Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought by Dennis C. Rasmussen, made for an engaging read, enhanced by the peer discussion sessions.
“It was pure discussion, an exchange of ideas,” says Leung. “You can sit in the group and absorb the conversation. There is no requirement to take notes and no tests or worrying about or your grade.”
This semester the group will read Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money, which follows the money to tell the human story behind the evolution of our financial system, from its genesis in ancient Mesopotamia to the latest upheavals on what he calls Planet Finance.
Reading Liberty is open to any interested University of Windsor student, but enrolment is limited to 20 in each semester. Participation is free — including the books — and qualifies as an entry on the co-curricular transcript.