Book for NU’s 2017-18 One Book One Northwestern is chosen

Catherine Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

“Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality” is One Book One Northwestern’s choice for the 2017-18 academic year, according to a University news release.

The author Danielle Allen, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, will visit the campus to deliver a keynote address and sign books on Oct. 19. In the book, Allen argues liberty and equality are interdependent, assessing the conflicts those two ideas often create, according to the news release.

“If we abandon equality, we lose the single bond that makes us a community, that makes us a people with the capacity to be free collectively and individually in the first place,” she said in the release.

According to the release, inspiration for the book came from Allen’s experience as a night teacher for the Odyssey Project, a program initiated by the Illinois Humanities Council to help low-income adults “reenter the educational system.” As a political science and classics professor at the University of Chicago at the time, she said her night classes with the Odyssey Project helped her “rediscover” the Declaration of Independence as she taught the text, according to the news release.

The themes explored in the book are particularly relevant today, One Book chair and history Prof. Geraldo Cadava said in the release. Due to recent politics, people have been forced to revisit American institutions and ideals, and this book will help create campus-wide conversation on these topics, Cadava said in the news release.

Allen also emphasized the relevancy of her book during the current political climate.

“Especially in times as turbulent as these, it’s a valuable anchor for all who desire to secure the health of our democracy,” she said in the news release. “Its lessons about equality, freedom, and agency belong to all Americans.”

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