The Disgrace Project
From Bill McDonald’s introduction to Encountering Disgrace: Reading and Teaching Coetzee’s Novel:
In May of 2005, with the generous support of writer and philanthropist Kathryn Green, five professors and some twenty alumni of the University of Redlands’ Johnston Center for Integrative Studies gathered in Southern California to launch a special book project. We ranged in age from 21 to 65, and represented graduating classes from 1972 to 2005 and faculty appointments from 1969 to 2004.
About half the alumni participants are now literature or humanities professors in their own right, while others include a national ACORN administrator, a non-profit grant writer, a rabbi, a community educator, a new-media book editor, a climate-change activist – community-oriented careers typical of Johnston Center graduates.
We termed ourselves “Unsolitary Readers,” a gathering of literature enthusiasts across time and space, to evoke the communal ground of our individual ways of reading. After choosing Disgrace as our subject, we spent many hours in conversation about it, developed the essay topics you see below, discussed drafts online, often at several stages, and then gathered again in the summer of 2007 for an intensive period of rereading and critiquing each other’s work. We shared the line editing, research, and Web site development, tasks that usually fall to a single person.
The book is available for purchase via amazon.com.