Skip to main content

Tag: discussions

“Bully” Screenings at Madison Public Library

Poster for Bully.

Much of A Tale for the Time Being is concerned with the cruel treatment of Nao at the hands of her classmates. While these scenes are uncomfortable and frequently disturbing to read, the reality is that over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year. The documentary Bully (formerly The Bully Project) takes a hard look at bullies and their victims.

Join Madison Public Library for free screenings of Bully, followed by facilitated discussions about bullying. Screenings are being held at several branches throughout October and November, and do not require pre-registration. For dates and locations, check out the MPL event page or our own Go Big Read event calendar.
Bully is rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, disturbing content, and some strong language, all involving kids.

Wednesday Nite @ the Lab

If you’ve gotten to see “Fallout” at Ebling Library–or even if you haven’t!–here’s your chance to find out how the exhibit was put together! Join Ebling Library for Wednesday Nite @ the Lab on Wednesday, February 20th from 7:00-8:15 in Room 1111, 425 Henry Mall.

Curator Micaela Sullivan-Fowler

“Fallout” is an examination of subjects such as the early use of x-rays
in diagnosis & treatment, occupational hazards of working with
radiation, the military use of x-rays, the history of tanning, a UW
connection with Marie Curie, bomb shelters in the 1960’s, the bombing of
Hiroshima & concerns with nuclear accidents like Three-Mile Island,
UW’s Departments of Medical Physics & Radiology, shoe fitting
fluoroscopes and the like.

Micaela Sullivan-Fowler has been the curator and history of health
sciences librarian at Ebling Library for the past 14 years. She acts as
the liaison to the Department of Medical History & Bioethics within
the School of Medicine and Public Health. She works with graduate and
undergraduate students, helping them navigate the print and electronic
worlds when using primary material for their research papers. In designing exhibits, Micaela’s
primary goals are to highlight books in Ebling’s collections, and to
create thematic pathways between the subjects in the individual cases.
While the current exhibit on the history of radioactivity, x-rays and
radium has had glowing reviews, it was perhaps the most difficult to
tell in such a limited space. The discovery of so many interesting
stories is what Micaela loves to share…

Telling Science Stories

What happens when non-scientists tell science stories?  What does science look like from a humanities perspective?  If you’re curious, head to the fourth floor of Helen C. White today (October 25) at 4pm.  Go Big Read and the Holz Center are co-sponsoring a panel that will answer these questions and more!  More information is available here.  See you at 4:00!

Brooke Williams, GBR graduate student

Lauren Redniss takes the stage on Monday!

With this year’s Go Big Read author event coming up fast, now is a great time to take a look at some recent Radioactive news items that have come across my desk.

Lauren Redniss seems to have been pretty active around Madison over the past week or so (especially for someone who’s not even in town yet!): she’s spoken with the Badger Herald and 77 Square, and even the university’s news page is talking about her.  If you’re looking for a sneak preview of her Monday lecture, look no further

And, of course, I’m going to set out the details of Monday night for you right now.  If you follow us on Twitter (@GoBigRead) or have liked us on Facebook, you’re probably going to be bombarded with this info over the next few days–and it’s in the campus calendar and a few local calendars, as well.  But isn’t it nice to have it all laid out in one place?  So here you go:

Date: Monday, October 17
Time: 7pm
Place: Varsity Hall, on the second floor of Union South (1308 W. Dayton Street)
Who: Lauren Redniss, author of Radioactive, the Go Big Read book selected for the 2012-2013 academic year
Why should I go?: Because it will be amazing! Radioactive is a fascinating book: a blend of art, science, biography, history and romance, with an incredibly unique and very beautiful aesthetic. Wouldn’t it be cool to find out how all those things came together?
Other things to know: The event is free and open to the public; you don’t need to get a ticket or reserve a seat.

If you can’t make it to the event in person, well, we’ll miss you!  But you don’t have to miss a minute: we’re live streaming the whole thing, starting about 15 minutes before the talk actually begins.  To get in on that, just go to our home page and look for the link that says “Live stream of the event” (it’s under “Features” on the right side of the page).

If you have any further questions about the event, feel free to email us:  You can also find us on Twitter or Facebook with the links above.  Otherwise, we’ll see you on Monday!

Brooke, GBR graduate student

October 11: How the Comic Book Grew Up

We’re going to take a brief digression from Radioactive today, although it’s not too far off the beaten path (after all, the New York Times review described Radioactive as a “graphic novel” back in 2010), to bring you news about an upcoming talk.  The speaker is UW-Madison Associate Professor Robin Valenza, and she’ll be discussing “How the Comic Book Grew Up.”

Place: Grand Hall, Capitol Lakes (333 W. Main Street)
Date: Thursday, October 11
Time: 3:15 pm

This description from Robin:
“In the English-language tradition, comic books have spent most
of their lives as entertainment aimed at children and teenagers,
although nobody has ever pretended that adults did not read

This talk considers how the books we call comics evolved
over the past few centuries, and how they made the transition
between being something disposable (whose disposibility was
paradoxically connected to their collectability) for young
people towards being a respected literary form that now earns
pride of place in bookstores under the category  “graphic

Along the way, the talk will discuss the following: 
early forms of sequential comic art including oil paintings
meant to be viewed in succession for humorous effect, the power
of the single-panel cartoon, the appearance of comic strips in
newspapers, the voluntary and involuntary censorship that
affected the publication and sale of comics, and the annus
mirabilis —
the miracle year 1986 — in which books
previously called comics could then be called “graphic novels”
with a straight face and appear without irony on lists of the
100 best books of the twentieth century.  The way stations of
this talk are many images and texts that lie at the heart of
comics as an art form, image-text combinations that may evoke
nostalgia or provoke laughter, tears, or wonder.”

Robin Valenza is beginning her fourth year as associate
professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 
She came to Madison from the University of Chicago, after
finishing her PhD in English literature at Stanford University. 
Before she became a literary scholar, she was a computer
scientist and electrical engineer who worked on automatic
textual transcription of audio documents.  She currently manages
an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant that brings together the
two sides of her background:  her research group is working on
how a person can comprehend a million or more books by combining
traditional reading practices — turning pages and reading
sentences one word at a time — and visualization techniques
that allow readers to see commonalities among books through the
use of color and pattern.  Reading at large scales that is —
1000s to millions of books at once, plays into her interest in
comic books and graphic novels because she has a longstanding
interest in how our perceptual systems can use color and pattern
to glean information, which is a part of our perceptual system
that comics use in great measure but that black and white print
in a conventional books do not.  

Middleton Students Raise Funds for Tegucigalpa School

Before I had even read Enrique’s Journey, I was impacted by the presence of poverty in Honduras. I spent a few days there in a rural town building a playground in 2007, and my brother travelled to there with a team in the summer of 2010 and toured a school across the street from the landfill in Tegucigalpa–the very one featured in one of the colored photos from Nazario’s book.

As a result of our time spent in Honduras, my brother and I each started projects to raise funds for the school across from the garbage dump, AFE (Amor, Fe, y Esperanza). My friend and I purchased a button maker and got to work making unique buttons to sell, while my brother and his two best friends dreamt of something a little larger–a basketball tournament.

On a Saturday last April, the first annual Slam Dump 3v3 Basketball Tournament took place in the fieldhouse at Middleton High School. My brother, then an eighth grader, and his friends had their work cut out for them as they put together a registration system, planned a bracket and prizes, and organized volunteers for the fourteen-team tournament. Besides raising awareness for the poverty in Honduras, the tournament raised over twelve hundred dollars for AFE, which went towards building classrooms and providing scholarships for teenagers like Enrique to go to college.

As a result of reading Enrique’s Journey and my participation in a Socratic Discussion on the book on October 19th, I have become more aware of poverty’s impact on illegal immigration. The poverty that my brother and I witnessed in Honduras directly influences the people that courageously face whatever fate a journey such as Enrique’s may bring. The discussion two weeks ago make me realize that we must change and try to eradicate the poverty in Honduras and other suffering nations before we can expect to see a decrease in the number of illegal immigrants arriving in the United States. This elimination of poverty begins with education. It begins with schools like AFE that reach out to those most in need of a way to better their lives. It begins with people deciding to make a difference.

The Slam Dump Tournament was started by a single middle schooler and two friends and in its first year raised enough money to give a teenager like Enrique the chance to go to college. What, then, might be possible with the will of a group as large as the University of Wisconsin-Madison community?

The second annual Slam Dump Tournament is planned for March 24th, 2012. If you are interested in entering a team or volunteering, please email Ben Hershberger at

Jenna Hershberger
Senior at Middleton High School

Call for Mock IRB Submissions for Discussion at April 15-16 Capstone Event

This year’s Go Big Read book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, raises many intriguing questions regarding ownership of human tissue, race and ethnicity and how these issues play a role in the world of scientific study.

A Go Big Read capstone event, “Who Owns My Body (and Where Is It Now?),” will be held April 15-16 at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. The event will be free and open to all, and will include a variety of panels, discussions, and films. Visit for planning updates.

As part of the capstone event, we would like to present a simulation of how an Institutional Review Board (IRB) discusses and determines the appropriate measures to take in an ethical dilemma within a scientific study. Therefore, we invite students and faculty to participate in this event by submitting scenarios that could be presented to a mock IRB and a public audience, who will partake in a thoughtful discussion to resolve the matter. This is intended to not only give the audience an inside look at how IRBs function, but also allow them the opportunity to think through the issues themselves to see how they might resolve an ethical dilemma. The audience will be given clickers and will be asked to take an active role in the discussions with the mock IRB.

We are hoping that faculty will encourage students to submit ideas or possibly integrate this activity into their class. Students may also submit scenarios independently. The scenarios should be about 250 words and should be submitted by February 25th on line at

Participants should feel free include interesting or unique methods of presenting their scenarios to the public. For example, they may use posters, movies, student actors, etc. They may also offer a main scenario and include slight variations to test reasoning of the mock IRB and the public as certain elements change. For example, a variation on the main scenario may change the subjects of study from adults to children, it may change the likelihood of risk to the subjects, or the severity of the possible side effects.

After all submissions have been received we will choose a set of scenarios to present to a mock IRB at the Go Big Read capstone event. All students and faculty are invited to participate.

Questions should be directed to Jennifer Gottwald at

Diversity Forum to Feature Go Big Read Panel

The 2010 Campus Diversity Forum, “Cultivating Excellence: Nurturing the Seeds of Success” will take place Thursday, September 30, from 8 am-4 pm at the Memorial Union. The event is free and open to the public. Registration for the lunch keynote is now closed, but you can still register for other events.

The Forum will include a Go Big Read Panel Discussion on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks from 1:15-2:30 in the Class of ’24 Reception Room, 4th Floor, Memorial Union. Professor Dayle B. DeLancey, Assistant Professor, Department of Medical History and Bioethics and Professor Susan E. Lederer, Chair, Department of Medical History and Bioethics will lead the session.

Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks shows readers how one woman’s experience with medicine has exposed issues of race and culture and highlighted ethical and legal dilemmas. In this joint presentation, two historians of medicine explore these overlapping issues and dilemmas. Professor Sue Lederer reconstructs the racial and cultural background of Henrietta Lacks’ case, while Assistant Professor Dayle B. DeLancey examines the case in ethical and legal context. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is the 2009-10 selection for Go Big Read (, UW-Madison’s common reading program.

Participants who have not yet read the book but are interested in joining the conversation are very welcome, as are those who are more familiar with the material.

Hope you can join us!

Sarah McDaniel
Go Big Read & UW Libraries

Biddy Martin on Go Big Read in the Wisconsin State Journal

Biddy Martin Invites you to Sift, Winnow,” begins the title of Chancellor Martin’s editorial on Go Big Read in the Wisconsin State Journal:

“Starting this year, the university is choosing a book annually for a project titled Go Big Read, and asking the community – not only the university community, but also the broader one that extends well beyond the borders of campus – to read it and engage with one another. We are excited about the initiative, which is already under way.” (read the full story here)

In addition to providing the Chancellor’s insights on the program, the piece announces some new events that are being added to Pollan’s visit. The previously announced Kohl Center lecture September 24 at 7 pm (doors at 6 pm, no tickets required) will be followed by post-lecture discussions, including a public discussion in the Great Hall of Memorial Union. There will also be a Friday panel at 3:30 pm in the Union Theater. Stay tuned to the project calendar for further details.

Sarah McDaniel
Go Big Read

Student Organizations Invited to Participate!

Student organizations are encouraged to participate in Go Big Read by participating in events and discussions, or by planning their own. Please contact the project office for marketing materials, discussion tool kit, and any other support you need (

A number of student organizations on campus already have an active interest in the issues discussed in In Defense of Food:

  • Slow Food UW was the subject of a short article in the Daily Cardinal. The group’s goals are to raise awareness about issues in food systems, sustainability and labor issues. The group offers students an opportunity to learn where their food comes from, with cooking workshops, dinners and movies among many other activities.
  • Students for Sustainable Agriculture F.H. King Student Farm hosts weekly Harvest Handouts, a program “developed to give students access to healthy, locally grown organic produce. Every Friday, we set up a farm stand on Library Mall and give away our produce to UW-Madison students for free. Harvest Handouts runs like a farmers market in that you bring your own bag, and let us know which veggies you’d like. We’ll inform you on how to cook with them and prepare them if you are unsure. Handouts usually run from mid-June to mid-October.”
  • Other organizations can participate as readers; you need not have food issues as your primary focus!

Is your organization planning to participate? Let us know!

Sarah McDaniel
Go Big Read