The goal of ReadRespond is to stimulate discussion about literature, history and human rights. We hope to encourage a broader commitment to human rights among readers (who are often thoughtful, empathetic people). Any reader is welcome to participate anywhere in the world.

The “respond” in ReadRespond alludes to acts of responding and responsibility. Respond comes from the Latin spondere, to pledge. Project participants “pledge” to engage these books with attention to ethics and compassion in addition to intellect. We acknowledge our implication in structures of power that protect some people and neglect others and hope reading and want to think with these great books about how to be more responsible global citizens.

The project runs for one year, from 15 September 2020 – 15 September 2021. We will focus on a different book each month and offer three ways to get involved.

First, we will create a resource page for each month´s book. This will have an introduction by an internationally-recognized scholar, a word about the history the book engages and the human rights issues it represents and links to resources for further study about the book (1) as literature, (2) relating to history (3) relevant for human rights violations that continue around the world. You can follow your interest to learn more and find organizations that are working toward global awareness of overlooked histories and working to protect people from rights abuses.

Second, you can join our Goodreads.com book discussion group. As meeting in person continues to be complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic, we want to enable thought-provoking online discussion among readers across the globe. Chime in with your thoughts about this month´s book and let us know what else you are reading.

Third, around the 15th of every month, starting in October 2020, we will host Zoom events with scholars for real-time discussion of the book we´ve been talking about on Goodreads. We expect that most Zoom-event attendees will have read the book in focus, but you are also welcome to listen in if you are new to the project. More information about each event is available at our events page.

Sign up for our email list if you would like updates once or twice a month. Join the Goodreads discussion group here. Links for the Zoom events will be sent to everyone on the email list. Feel free to write if you have questions or suggestions: cassandra.falke@uit.no