KU 2021-22 Common Book


KU Common Book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Every year, Jayhawks read a single book that speaks to the current moment and sparks a campuswide conversation.

“Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.” --Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

After a brief hiatus, the Common Book program at KU will relaunch in 2021-22 with new and exciting collaborations. First, KU and Haskell Indian Nations University will unite to explore the same book, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s critically acclaimed and bestselling Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. This partnership will enable our two communities to work together on creating a broad range of opportunities to engage with an extraordinary book, the questions it asks, and the ways in which it challenges us to think, feel, and act differently. Second, the Common Book program at KU will move forward as a partnership between Academic Success and the Hall Center for the Humanities, with a reaffirmed commitment to maximizing integration of the Common Book into the curriculum. The Common Book Program at KU looks forward to future collaborations with Haskell.

This thought-provoking collection of essays weaves together botany, the teachings of Indigenous peoples, and Kimmerer’s own experiences as a mother, teacher, and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her essays explore the intertwined relationship between humans and the countless plant species that co-inhabit our planet, considering ways in which we can learn from plants as we seek to build a more sustainable world.  Braiding Sweetgrass takes on vital and timely themes such as sustainability and the value of reciprocity. It will encourage students at KU and Haskell to engage thoughtfully and in a spirit of compassion with each other and the Earth. Dr. Kimmerer will visit KU and Haskell on November 10-11, 2021, to meet with students and to give a public talk hosted by the Hall Center for the Humanities. 

Common Book programs encourage students to become involved in the intellectual life of their universities; they connect students, faculty, and staff across campuses and broader communities. Braiding Sweetgrass will be a particularly rich addition to courses in a broad range of disciplines and programs.  Details will follow soon about how to obtain copies of the book, and there will be multiple opportunities to participate in discussion groups and events during the fall and spring semesters. These conversations will also take place in a broad network of courses. Please check the Events tab regularly for updates. KU/Haskell Common Book and Hall Center events are free and open to the public.