Who are we?
One Book, Many Conversations was developed by a community of organizations and individuals, all on a volunteer basis, who believe that at the core of democracy lies conversation. The ability to talk with one another about the issues before us and to come together and share our many perspectives is a vital aspect of a thriving democratic society. Discussions grounded in a shared text offer valuable opportunities for genuine, open exchanges – giving everyone in the conversation a common point of reference for examining and articulating their ideas.
We also believe that, at a time when the humanities, and the liberal arts more broadly, face many challenges, it is critically important to demonstrate the essential value of them in public life. A gathering like this offers the opportunity to connect those who already work in this arena, and to invite a greater portion of the public into the arena.
Each year we seek a text that touches on topics that offer insight into our own times. 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, and it brings us into a world that, though composed two centuries ago, is not so different from our own. Like Orwell’s 1984, the text for our inaugural event in 2017, Frankenstein has stood the test of time, is complex, and raises a broad and powerful range of questions. These include the nature of social responsibility, the ethics of scientific inquiry, what it means to create another, what we owe our children, both biological and non-biological, and, perhaps most essential, what it means to be human. One Book, Many Conversations will join in the worldwide celebration of this event by partnering with the Frankenreads project as the public discussion arm of Frankenreads, thus continuing and expanding our mission of promoting public discussion around a common text to increasingly broad audiences and diverse groups of participants.
What is OBMC’s connection to Frankenreads?
OBMC is a partner of Frankenreads. As a partner, we are joining the public exploration of the novel through local and online discussions alongside other events hosted by Frankenreads and its other partners. OBMC remains an independent organization dedicated to furthering public discourse of pressing issues related to democracy and social responsibility within the framework of great works of literature.
Who are the moderators?
We seek individuals who can serve as discussion leaders in a Socratic seminar, also sometimes referred to as a shared inquiry model. The moderator is not necessarily an expert in 1984 but is experienced in asking questions that are central to the text and that help the group to engage in a fruitful discussion.
How do I sign up?
Instructions for local and online discussion registration are coming soon.
What format will these discussions take?
Your moderator will begin the discussion with a question about the text. The discussion will then be open to all participants. Moderators may steer the conversation from time to time, but participants will also influence the direction of the conversation.
What do I need to read in order to participate?
We will be posting a selection of pages from the novel soon. Participants can choose to read only the selected text or the entire novel. Conversations will focus on themes and events from the selected material.
Do I need any experience with seminars to participate?
No. The only requirements are that you have read the discussion materials and participate in a respectful manner.
What if there is no local seminar near me?
If you cannot find a local seminar, you may sign up to participate in one of our online seminars. You will need a computer, tablet, or phone with a microphone and camera in order to participate.
Can I sign up for both local and online seminars?
We ask that you limit your participation to one seminar in order to make room for as many to participate in this event as possible.
How will I be able to join an online seminar?
Once you have registered, you will receive an invitation to join the seminar via the videoconferencing software platform Zoom.
What will happen to the information I give in my registration?
We will only use the information we collect in the registration forms for this event, and to give you further information about upcoming One Book, Many Conversations events. The information that is collected will not be used for commercial purposes or shared with third parties without your consent. You may opt out at any time.