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An enlightening perspective on Between the World and Me

Jabari Asim & Dr. Clarence Lang, Department of African & African American Studies

This audio is an interview led by Dr. Clarence Lang, Chair of the African & African American Studies Department at the University of Kansas, with Jabari Asim. Asim is an author, Editor-in-Chief of The Crisis Magazine, and Associate Professor of Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College.

Furthering the conversation

Nick Carswell, Kansas Audio-Reader Network & Howard Graham, Office of First-Year Experience

In this podcast Nick Carswell interviews Howard Graham about the selection of the 2016 - 2017 KU Common Book, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. They discuss how the text challenges readers to delve into difficult conversations that are relevant to discussions happening on our campus and around the nation.

Matthew Broussard

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates's critically acclaimed second book and the winner of 2015 National Book Award for nonfiction has been chosen by the University of Kansas as the 2016-2017 common book. The KU Common Book Program is run by the 

Kaye McIntyre, KPR & Dr. Clarence Lang, Department of African & African-American Studies

As part of the 2016 Free State Forum, the ACLU of Kansas brought Leonard Pitts to discuss race and inequality. Kaye McIntyre of KPR sat down with Dr. Clarence Lang, chair of the Department of African and African-American Studies to discuss the way these issues directly affect life in Kansas. Listen here.

A new student's response

Brianna Mears, Freshman

I fell in love with this book the moment I opened the first page. Coates' rhetoric and the way he phrases his perspective allows for readers of all backgrounds to see the picture he so delicately, yet powerfully paints.

Continue the conversation

So you’ve finished Coates’s Between the World and Me and you’re looking for more to read?  Or, you’ve not only read his book but also his article, “The Case for Reparations”, and you’re looking for more to read on black experience?  What if you’re looking for a black female

You can check out a .pdf of the University of Kansas Common Book Reader's Guide for Between the World and Me here. This guide includes reflections on the text by faculty, staff, and current students of KU.

Questions about the text? Use this resource.

Encountered something in the text of Between the World and Me that you do not understand or would like to explore further? The Oxford African American Studies Center is a great place to start. Simply go to and login using your KU online ID and password.

In response to page 19

Mauricio Gomez, Retention Specialist, Hawk Link, Office of Multicultural Affairs

“After a year I watched the boy with the small eyes pull out a gun, my father beat me for letting another boy steal from me. Two years later, he beat me for threatening my ninth-grade teacher. Not being violent enough could cost me my body. Being too violent could cost me my body.”

Kevin Smith, Dean of Libraries

Many years ago, soon after we were married, my wife and I spent a year as house parents for a group of academically-talented teenage boys from disadvantaged backgrounds who, were they not part of the program that put them in better schools, would have had little chance of getting into college.  The house was, to say the least, ethnically and racially diverse.  One afternoon, one of ou


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