Author Nicholas Carr to deliver first-year book convocation
Nicholas Carr, author of Centre College’s first-year book selection, “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,” will give a convocation address at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, September 11 in Danville High School’s Gravely Hall Auditorium.
Carr will also have a luncheon with students who completed a variety of artistic projects—including creative writing, paintings and papier maché—that were inspired by his book.
“The Shallows” was finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction. All incoming first-year students read the book and discussed it in their orientation groups before the academic year began. The First-Year Book Committee chose Carr’s book for its apt commentary on the consequences of constant Internet usage.
“Nicholas Carr’s project couldn’t be more timely,” says Assistant Professor of Music Nathan Link, a member of the committee. “His thoughtful assessment of many aspects of technology we now take for granted and their effects upon our capacities to think, communicate, and maintain attention are especially relevant to college communities, which are working consciously to increase the extent to which technology is used in the teaching and learning processes.”
Carr has written previous works about the effects of technology and the Internet on modern culture and intellectualism, including “The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google” in 2008. Carr serves as a member of the Editorial Board of Advisors for the Encyclopedia Brittanica. His articles have been published in The Guardian, The Atlantic, The New York Times and Wired, among other publications. He earned a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.A. from Harvard University.
Having Carr give a convocation address allows students to become even more immersed in and knowledgeable about the subject matter in his book.
“It gives students the opportunity to ask a wide range of questions—not just about the subject of the book, but about the author’s personal journey and motivations—and dig deeper into the topics raised by the reading,” says Professor of Biology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Peggy Richey, also a member of the first-year book committee.
“Just as we value as part of the Centre experience the opportunity for students to interact directly with their teachers and receive a personalized education, so too is it valuable for the author of the first-year book to present to the college community in person, bringing to life the first-year book and fostering an ongoing, campus-wide discussion of the issues it raises,” he says.
The experience of reading one book together before even beginning classes at Centre gives first-year students a taste of the intellectual atmosphere on campus and a chance to bond over the shared material.
“The purpose of having a first-year book is to engage students intellectually from the beginning of their time at Centre,” Richey says.
“The first-year book provides incoming students an excellent introduction to the climate of college-level intellectual discourse, and offers our increasingly diverse first-year students the common ground of a shared Centre experience from the outset,” says Link.