Winter 2019-2020: The Works of James Baldwin
In time for Black History Month, the February virtual book group will discuss six essays by James Baldwin and If Beale Street Could Talk, tracing Baldwin's evolution as a writer focused on the self to one focused on the experience of race and justice.
Join us for the winter session which begins Saturday, January 18, 2020 with Yujhán Claros of Columbia University Department of Classics. The club includes guiding questions and facilitated conversation on the online platform.
January 18–February 22
The Iliad, Homer with Professor Kate Meng Brassel
Republic, Plato with Professor Marcus Folch
Julius Caesar and Othello, William Shakespeare with Professor Julie Crawford
Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville with Professor Richard John
Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky with Professor Deborah Martinsen
How to Register
- Click the button above to be directed to the Core Conversations group on goodreads.com.
- If you have an account, sign in and continue to step 2.
- If you are new to Goodreads, click "Create an Account" and proceed through the provided instructions to create an account.
- Once logged in, click the "Join Group" button on the Core Conversations page.
- In the message box that appears, type your full name and your Columbia College class year so we can verify your Columbia College connection.
Your membership should be confirmed within 24-48 hours.
If you are not a graduate of Columbia College and would still like to participate as a guest of an alum, include the full name and Columbia College class year of the alumnus with whom you are joining.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Columbia using Goodreads?
Through Goodreads, the professor posts your reading assignments and guiding questions to generate discussion. Members can post to discussions, ask questions and exchange insights, making the reading experience communal and more expansive than when you read great books on your own.
What if I want to join, but missed the first session?
Feel free to join the discussion at any point. If you like, you can read the past discussions to learn what the group has been focusing on.
What's the cost?
None! There is no cost to join Goodreads or to participate in Core Conversations.
How will I interact with the professor?
The professor leading each Core Conversation will be available via discussions posts and on occasion via a live video stream.
Do I need a certain edition or version of the book?
Please check the "Upcoming" and "Currently Reading" descriptions for whether a specific edition is required. In addition, Goodreads will have a link to the version the professor is using. Faculty will likely not require a specific edition, although they will likely reference page numbers from the edition they are using.
Can I do more than one Core Conversation each year?
Yes! Please join as many Core Conversations as you'd like!
Do I need to have finished the entire book or set of readings by the first session?
No. The professor will post a reading plan that assumes you have not read any of the book before the first session.
Can non-alumni join?
Yes! Feel free to invite friends, spouses and family members to join you in a Core Conversation experience. Non-alums cannot join on their own, though, as our goal is to maintain the Columbia College connection. When your non-alum clicks the "Join Group" link, they must list the name and class year of their affiliate alumnus/a in the Note section.