The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway
The year is 2393, and the world is almost unrecognizable. Clear warnings of climate catastrophe went ignored for decades, leading to soaring temperatures, rising sea levels, widespread drought and—finally—the disaster now known as the Great Collapse of 2093, when the disintegration of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet led to mass migration and a complete reshuffling of the global order. Writing from the Second People's Republic of China on the 300th anniversary of the Great Collapse, a senior scholar presents a gripping and deeply disturbing account of how the children of the Enlightenment—the political and economic elites of the so-called advanced industrial societies—failed to act, and so brought about the collapse of Western civilization.
The summer reading selection for the Class of 2019 is Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway's The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future. Professor Oreskes will join us in the fall for a public lecture during orientation.
After a review of a number of suggestions, the First Year Reading Committee believes it has selected a thought-provoking, challenging, affordable and accessible novel about the effects of climate change, a topic of pressing importance for us all.
You may find Naomi Oreskes' TED talk a useful introduction to the topics the book raises: https://www.ted.com/speakers/naomi_oreskes
Incoming students are expected to purchase and read the summer reading selection prior to arriving at Smith for Orientation. If purchasing the book is cost prohibitive please contact Anna Gohlke, Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be small group discussions held during Orientation.
Past Summer Reading Selections
2014: Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us by Claude Steele
2013: My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
2012: Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis by Alice Yaeger Kaplan
2011: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
2010: Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
2009: The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones
2008: Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey
2007: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
2006: Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder
2005: Kettle Bottom by Diane Gilliam Fisher
2004: The Gangster We Are All Looking For by Lê Thi Diem Thúy
2003: Atonement by Ian McEwan
2002: Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
2001: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
2000: My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki
1999: Respect by Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot