In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.” Graywolf Press

“Part protest lyric, part art book, Citizen is a dazzling expression of the painful double consciousness of black life in America.”
The Washington Post

This Common Read selection is an appropriate text across disciplines and student populations at our College, both in credit and non-credit courses.

The AY 2021-22 Common Read Book Selection is Citizen:An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.

We are thrilled to announce that the Common Read selection for Spring 2022 is the book length prose poem Citizen: An American Lyric by Jamaican-born poet and professor Claudia Rankine.

Rankine examines the effects of racism in today’s society from microaggressions to overt attacks.

Drawing on works from Frederick Douglass to James Baldwin to Homi Bhabha and incorporating images from artists such as Nick Cave and Carrie Mae Weems, Citizen is part poetry, part art, part essay.

This ground-breaking text could not be more timely, providing entryways for all disciplines to join the discussion of how we address race and racism in America. We invite all faculty from all disciplines to join us: incorporate this innovative text in your curriculum and participate in the week of Common Read events in collaboration with the KHC Spring 2022.


“Claudia Rankine’s bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seemingly slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV—everywhere, all the time.

If you have any questions relating to the Common Read, you may contact Meg Tarafdar at cetl@qcc.cuny.edu or Raquel Corona at rcorona@qcc.cuny.edu to discuss possible connections between the text and your class.

Common Read Events-Spring 2022

A Social Media Conversation about Citizen (virtual & asynchronous on Social ​Media) Throughout the Common Read we welcome students, faculty, and staff to post on Twitter and Instagram about their experiences reading the book and attending events. English Faculty, Raquel Corona, Zivah Katz, and Robin Ford will facilitate and respond to this discussion. We encourage everyone to include the following information in their posts!

Hashtags:  #CommonReadQCC22 #ClaudiaRankineCitizen
QCC Twitter Account: @QCC_CUNY QCC Instagram Account: @queensboroughcc_cuny​

Common Read Event Schedule 

WEEK 1:

Monday, March 21st                                                                                             

Poetry 101: What? Poetry? - 1PM to 2PM - Virtual  (QCC Event Calendar link)

We know sometimes it is hard to read poetry and don’t know where to start. English professors Raquel Corona and Benjamin Miller will help students use a set of tools to help them navigate and engage with poetry. The event will end with reading and discussing poems from Citizen: An American Lyric.

You can watch a recording of this event by clicking on the following link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/-Z6u6b2M8OJwMLn6IvUe6bErBIrHh5zRGNM-JusrxQonQVA72OoJemJ7IQK9h2RC.4H05gJMoLJ5EZJq_ 
Please use this passcode to gain access to the recording: CRQCC22*

Tuesday, March 22nd    

The Visual, Audial, and Textual in Citizen: Exploring the Art Form of the Situation Videos - 12PM to 1PM (Virtual) ( QCC Event Calendar Link )

Join Professors Nathaniel Sullivan and Raquel Corona as they guide the students in ARTS 191 through a riveting discussion surrounding the situation videos that Claudia Rankine created in conjunction with the poetry in the book. Participants will watch some of the situation videos and then there will be a discussion surrounding both the visual and audio techniques being used in the videos and how they work to communicate what is being discussed in the poems.

You can watch a recording of this event by clicking on the following link:


https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/qqbQH579LPLLJ_Qqy6hJQZv0j2X-huOuyloiT1-uE84pbB3OBCUYDvE6EwslGkxl.cc8SpWQkHyqkNn12

Please use this passcode to gain access to the recording: CRQCC22*

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Exploring Racial Narratives through Art in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen @ 2:30pm to 4pm (Virtual)

( QCC Event Calendar Link )

In her works, Claudia Rankine often employs the visual arts to comment on the racial narrative that art presents. In this event, Professor Sexton of the English department will discuss three key pieces of art in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, focusing on how these works document the history and treatment of Black people. Participants will learn about each of these works and then they will be invited to join a discussion about these particular works with time at the end left for them to ask any questions.

You can watch a recording of this event by clicking on the following link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/ZrcX5T5rtYTjnbqQHlCmJk_1RC973IN8zDMILouLiUHLW4LH8X5r3p2bKZztA4FQ.zsGB6sEvko4m_AO7
Please use this passcode to gain access to the recording: CRQCC22*

Wednesday, March 23rd:   Event with Claudia Rankine

Fighting Off the Weight of Nonexistence: A Conversation with Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen: An American Lyric - 12PM to 2PM (Link to QCC Events Calendar)

This event is co-sponsored with the Kupferberg Holocaust Center and the President’s Office at Queensborough Community College.

We are thrilled to welcome Claudia Rankine, the author of Citizen: An American Lyric, who will discuss how Black people endure racism and microaggressions in various facets of their lives and the institutions they navigate. Join us for the highlight event of the Common Read program for 2022.

Ms. Rankine is the author of six collections of poetry,  three plays, as well as numerous video collaborations. She is also the co-editor of several anthologies and in 2016, she co-founded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII). Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment of the Arts.

We look forward to hosting a dynamic conversation with the author of the selected Common Read for this year. Ms. Rankine will read from her work briefly and then answer a selection of questions from QCC students as well as the following facilitators:

Dr. Raquel Corona, Doctoral Lecturer in the English Department

Dr. Laura Cohen, Director of the Kupferberg Holocaust Center

Amaris Matos, Executive Advisor to the President for Equity

You can watch a recording of this event by clicking on the following link:

https://youtu.be/5IyA730GELQ


Thursday, March 24th   

Examining the Fight for Racial Justice in the U.S. @ 10:10AM to 12PM - In-person Event to be Held in Science Building, Room 111.  (Link to QCC Events Calendar)

Professor Noelia Diaz with her English 101 class will screen a documentary play on the L.A. Riots by Anne Deveare Smith, entitled Twilight: Los Angeles 1992. Join us for a viewing of the documentary as well as a robust discussion about the response to racial injustice in L.A. and how it connects to Citizen.

You can watch a recording of this event by clicking on the following link: https://youtu.be/5IyA730GELQ

Friday, March 25th  

Exploring the Impact of Microaggressions @ 10:10 AM to 11:30AM - Virtual

This event will feature a panel of faculty members from the English department discussing their personal experiences with microaggressions. Professors Raquel Corona and Ilse Schrynemakers will moderate the panel and also facilitate a discussion surrounding some of the key incidents of microaggressions in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric. There will be time for attendees to ask questions of the panelists and an opportunity to engage with others about the poems in the collection.

The English faculty members featured on this panel include:

Robin Ford, Assistant Professor

Kerri-Ann Smith, Associate Professor & Faculty Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity

Irvin Weathersby, Jr., Lecturer

John D. Yi, Lecturer

You can register for this event by clicking this link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0kf-CvqjwrE9UOu4Q2AGCpY9d0ohxpD8Qh 

WEEK 2:

Monday, March 28th  

iDesign: Designing Channels to Neutralize Negative Thoughts about Racism @ 10AM to 11:30AM (Virtual)
(Link to QCC Events Calendar)

Join Professor Huixin Wu’s Engineering Technology class as students present their digital website projects where they explore powerful moments of racism they have either encountered personally or been witness to. Attendees are welcome to ask questions and engage in a discussion about student projects and how technology can be leveraged to discuss important issues like racism.

You can watch a recording of this event by clicking on the following link:
https://cuny907my.sharepoint.com/:v:/g/personal/huixin_wu13_login_cuny_edu/EWGBvDIQzTdDl015me3FgVsB_NCVvmj1IjVBclJZf-UiFA

Exploring Poetry Through Dance @ 2PM to 4PM.  In-person Event to be Held in RFK 214
(Link to QCC Events Calendar)

Join the students of Dance 260 with their professor, Nicole McClam, for an open rehearsal of “The Fine Print” a dance piece in process for the Dance Program’s formal spring production. The piece will formally premiere at the end of the semester in May. Participants will watch the rehearsal process and then be asked to take part in a discussion with the dancers. 

You can join this in-person event virtually by registering for the Zoom connection information:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAof-qtqjwpE90K3h79juTB8ivl00y-I0AQ 


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Exercising Your Public Citizenship and Advocating for Racial Justice @ 12PM to 2PM - In-person Event to be Held in the Humanities Quad   (QCC Event Calendar Link )

Common Read faculty and students will collaborate with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) to conduct a voting registration drive for the 2022 midterm elections. Join us on-campus to get registered so you’re ready to vote on important legislation and legislators who are up for election.

If you cannot visit us on-campus please consider registering online and learning more about the midterm elections on the NYPIRG website: https://www.nypirg.org/vote/

Tuesday, March 29th  

Exploring Poetry through Art @ 1PM to 2PM  ( QCC Event Calendar Link )
In-person Event to be Held in the Student Gallery in C Building Room 213 (2nd Floor)

Join us for an art opening showcasing selected artworks from Professor Nathaniel Sullivan’s Art and Design course and Professor Robin Ford’s English course.

The student gallery will also be open in-person for students to view the art from Tuesday, March 29th to Tuesday April 12.​

You can virtually engage with the gallery by viewing the following videos and documents.

Video of Professors Explaining an Overview of the Assignment:

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/tYY_N9XvVqHsPFCndVy3MXIWCjt-JjtAC0wBVDuULMOrLKQe3hY-0q5HTUDn3Kzt.mWexui3jUwM8ctO3​ 

Use this passcode to watch the video: CRQCC22*

These are the student works from Professor Robin Ford's course:
https://acrobat.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:e1fdb685-4f54-3c79-99ab-5b581028208e

​These are the student works from Professor Nathaniel Sullivan's course:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/2v1qbrljnx0eq21/22-3-28-Text_Animation.mp4?dl=0

This is a video of a virtual walkthrough of the gallery showcasing student work in both courses:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/klh5xq7gzf8bvxy/Poetry-Art-Walkthrough.MOV?dl=0

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Please Note: The following event has been cancelled

Racial Healing Circle for Common Read Student Participants @ 3PM to 5PM (Virtual)  
Co-sponsored with and hosted by the QCC Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center

A healing circle’s purpose is to reaffirm the humanity in all of us. And, it lifts up what unites us rather than what divides us; while discovering, respecting and honoring the unique experiences of each person. We invite students who have read Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric to engage and actively participate with others in a dialogue about race. A pair of trained racial healing practitioners will facilitate the circle, leading the group through dialogue with a provocative question that can lead to generative conversations throughout the process.

We are asking students to be prepared to actively participate on Zoom during the session for the full 2 hours (this includes having access to audio and possibly video).

Registration and attendance will be limited to 20 participants so please make sure you reserve your spot and take part in this powerful experience with your peers!

Wednesday, March 30th  

In Memoriam: The Lives They Lived  @ 11AM to 12PM In-person Event to be Held in H-144
(Link to QCC Events Calendar

 

Join us as Professor Beth Counihan’s class presents research from their projects on Citizen: An American Lyric where they share information about some of the people killed by police that Rankine documents in her book. Attendees will be asked to write and share memorials to loved ones they’ve lost, through injustice, violence and/or the opioid epidemic and pandemic.

You can join this in-person event virtually by registering for the Zoom connection information:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwvde-pqjgtEtdMfj8TOHgmzsSHG1eGZDR5 

The Poetry of Witness & Open Mic @ 12:10PM to 1:30PM (Virtual) Link to QCC Events Calendar
Hosted by the Creative Writing Club

How do we bear witness to our lives and this soon—to— be—historical moment we are living in? Poet Carolyn Forché, in her anthology, Against Forgetting: The Poetry of Witness, writes that a poem of witness is both “an event and the trace of an event” (33), as each person’s experience of history is both their own and a collective moment. In this Common Read event, we will read examples of “poetry of witness” in Claudia Rankine’s, Citizen, write our own poems, and share these and other original works. We invite all Common Read students to share their creative writing during an Open Mic, which will conclude the event.

Please register for this event in order to get the Zoom connection information:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrdOyqrTgsHNB1ShmFuy8gzbQsJrZd9Iic

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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Thursday, March 31st 

A Conversation on Citizen, Citizenship, and Belonging - 10:10AM to 12PM - Virtual
(Link to QCC Events Calendar)

Join Professor John Yi’s English 101 class as they present reflective and critical multimodal assignments that center on “Citizen,” “Citizenship,” and “Belonging.” During this presentation, participants are invited to learn, connect and be empowered through our collective voices, experiences and perspectives. There will be an opportunity for participants to share and ask questions.

You can join this live event virtually by registering for the Zoom event here:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0ude2sqjgvGtUP9PgTkn0zcvo1uRJ5VuJB 

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Exercising Your Public Citizenship and Advocating for Racial Justice @ 12PM to 2PM - In-person Event to be Held in the Humanities Quad

Common Read faculty and students will collaborate with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) to conduct a voting registration drive for the 2022 midterm elections. Join us on-campus to get registered so you’re ready to vote on important legislation and legislators who are up for election.

If you cannot visit us on-campus please consider registering online and learning more about the midterm elections on the NYPIRG website: https://www.nypirg.org/vote/

Friday, April 1st

Compassion through Mindfulness: Creating Healing for Self & Others @ 1PM to 2PM (Virtual)

This event is co-sponsored with the Asian Heritage Month Committee, the AAFSA (Asian American Faculty Staff Association) and the Mindfulness Club  (submitted to QCC events) Link to QCC Events Calendar:

Join us in getting centered, first through our bodies and then, hopefully through our minds, as we practice a set of mindfulness techniques to help you become more aware, as well as more compassionate and empathic. Dr. Joanne Chang and Professor Alison Cimino will facilitate the event beginning with a brief introduction to mindfulness as a practice and then move into a discussion of Claudia Rankine’s purpose in creating her poetry collection, and conclude with the ways in which we can consider using compassion in our world today. 

You can watch a recording of this event by clicking on the following link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/IuvX9_a3Ez22YeMLIaWfGZEy3nUEYPWp6MKlG_B0pDnXb6PFr-fob3PBckQewn-I.YzsWxs3E9Oqn1VPx

Please use this passcode to gain access to the recording: CRQCC22*


Exercising Your Public Citizenship and Advocating for Racial Justice; Days & Times TBA

Common Read faculty and students will collaborate with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) to conduct a voting registration drive for the 2022 midterm elections. Join us on-campus to get registered so you’re ready to vote on important legislation and legislators who are up for election.

If you cannot visit us on-campus please consider registering online:

We Are Citizens: Documenting Students' Multimodal Stories of Their Lived Experience
Asynchronous & Virtual

Students from Professor Angela Ridinger-Dotterman’s class put together individual videos where they present the digital books they created in response to Rankine’s poetry. Click on the link below to see a student in the course read her digital book in which she presents visuals and text to document her personal story.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrA72jH5hgQ&feature=youtu.be

We welcome students and faculty alike to engage with these videos by posting supportive messages or questions in the comments section of the videos.

Campus Cultural Centers

Kupferberg Holocaust Center exterior lit up at nightOpens in a new window
Kupferberg Holocaust Center Opens in a new window

The KHC uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Russian Ballet performing at the Queensborough Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window
QPAC: Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

Queensborough Art Gallery exterior in the afternoonOpens in a new window
QCC Art GalleryOpens in a new window

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.