One Campus, One Book
The Campus Common Reading unites students and the entire Notre Dame community in a shared exploration of a significant work of fiction or non-fiction.
During summer orientation, every incoming undergraduate student received a copy of The Cellist of Sarajevo, Notre Dame's 2012 selection, which will be explored in their required IDS-100 course, Perspectives on Education and Culture. Upper level and graduate students are also encouraged to participate in the Common Reading and may be required to read the book for some of their classes. Throughout the year, coursework and extra-curricular events will draw from the subjects and themes explored in the work.
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Based on a true story, the novel by Steven Galloway opens as the siege of Sarajevo is underway and 22 innocent civilians have just died from a shelling attack while they were waiting in line to buy bread. The eponymous cellist watched it all from his window. The dead were his friends and neighbors. For reasons never explained (and without need of explanation) the unnamed cellist decides he will play an adagio on the spot of the attack for the next 22 days.
Galloway's novel explores themes and experiences common to the human condition:
- Universality of war and suffering
- Presence of meaning, grace and humanity in the midst of horror
- Comfort of daily ritual during times of chaos
- Transcendence of music
- Art as an expression of comfort and humanity
Learn about the Siege of Sarajevo and the real-life events that shaped Galloway's story.
- Dispatch from Sarajevo: October 2 at 12:15 in LeClerc Auditorium, Dr. Anne Henderson, who served as a mediator in the Sarajevo region on behalf of the United Nations, set the stage for the political and social context of the novel in a presentation to the campus community. Read Dr. Henderson's insightful interview about her experiences.
- Author Steven Galloway: October 4 at 7:30 p.m. in LeClerc Auditorium, we welcomed author Steven Galloway to our campus. Following his discussion, there was a lively audience Q & A. The evening will concluded with a live performance by Todd Thiel of Albinoni’s haunting Adagio in G Minor.
- "Life Under Siege": October 23 at 12:15 p.m. Feeley International Center 003, former Baltimore Sun photographer Michael Lutzky presented his startling images of the war in Saravejo.
Common Reading Program at NDMU
The Common Reading Program at Notre Dame of Maryland University highlights our commitment to academic excellence while recognizing the importance of community and shared experience. By providing the Common Reading book to our incoming first-year and transfer students, making it a focal point in IDS courses, and opening the reading opportunity to our campus as a whole (returning students, faculty and staff), we begin our academic year with many of the same thoughts, emotions and questions based on our summer reading. This common ground allows us to begin a year of discussion and exploration of the human experience.
After identifying key topics and themes of the chosen text, we are able to plan various campus events throughout the year that serve to enrich the reading. The Notre Dame of Maryland University community is fortunate to have a wealth of faculty and staff often called upon to address topics of interest related to the Common Reading, and our Baltimore location also allows us the opportunity to seek outside presenters to provide their voice to our community reading experience.
To conclude our yearly endeavor, we ask our students for the final take on our common reading program. In April, at the annual Nancy Kreiter Student Research Day, students are invited to share their responses to the reading through a variety of mediums—research, art, music, writing, etc. These submissions are reviewed and awarded recognition by the IDS faculty, Common Reading and Research Day committees.