2017 S.W. Brooks Fellow Public Lecture

Professor Karen Manarin, Mount Royal University, Calgary

  • Thursday 6 July 2017
  • Terrace Room, Level 6, Sir Llew Edwards Building (Building #14), St Lucia Campus
  • 4:45pm for a 5:00pm start (the lecture will conclude at 6:00pm and will be followed by canapes and refreshments)

RSVP by 2 July 

Abstract: Why Read?

The answer seems obvious, at least to people likely to participate in this lecture. However, in this lecture I encourage us to think about reading more broadly. What is the point of reading—the sustained reading of difficult texts—in an age in which many people get their information from social media and their entertainment in digital form? What does reading offer us? Are we taking advantage of its possibilities? Or are we giving up on the dream of a literate citizenry?

Many have worried that twenty-first-century technologies are changing the way people read, or making reading irrelevant altogether, even as more research is being done on the cognitive and affective benefits of reading. In this lecture, I outline some of these larger trends before examining reading in a specific context: an undergraduate education. Examining the question “Why read?” I draw on material from two populations: instructors from different disciplines and institutions, and students from different disciplines at my institution. Their answers reveal much about the ideals and realities of the twenty-first-century university, where reading can be a time-consuming and risky choice for a very busy, and often risk-averse, student body. I conclude the lecture by asking us to consider our own practices as instructors, as readers and as citizens. We need to champion critical reading​.

Presenter Bio:

Karen Manarin is the School of Communication and Arts S.W. Brooks Fellow for 2017. She is Professor of English at Mount Royal University, a public undergraduate institution in Calgary, Canada. In her research, she examines how students read, undergraduate research and academic identity. Recent publications include the co-authored Critical Reading in Higher Education: Academic Goals and Social Engagement (Indiana UP 2015). She has also published in a variety of teaching and learning journals, including Teaching and Learning Inquiry and Pedagogy.

Professor Manarin is visiting the University of Queensland as a keynote speaker for the School of Communication and Arts Conference "Reading and Writing in the Twenty-First-Century Literary Studies Classroom: Theory and Practice," 6-8 July 2017.

Professor Karen Manarin

For enquiries, please contact Dr Judith Seaboyer (j.seaboyer@uq.edu.au)



Level 6, Sir Llew Edwards Building (Building #14), St Lucia Campus
Terrace Room