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Book Discussion Series Gets ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’

Behind the Beautiful Forevers book

The Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma book discussion series at Oklahoma City University will close its season with “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity” by Katherine Boo. The discussion will begin at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 in Walker Center room 151, located near the center of campus at N.W. 26th Street and Florida Avenue.

The series is made possible through a grant from Oklahoma Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities with funding from the Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires Initiative.

In “Behind the Beautiful Forevers,” the true story of a family who lives in the slums of Mumbai, India, takes the discussion of civil rights into an international context. The family’s home stands in sight of the city’s luxury hotels, raising important questions about income inequality and to what extent our participation in an increasingly global economy raises civil rights issues as others see the effects of global processes on individuals in other places.

The discussion will be led by English professor Amrita Sen.

The discussions this season are under the theme Civil Rights and Equality: A Pulitzer Prize Centennial Series. The theme features five Pulitzer Prize-nominated or -winning books that explore civil rights in an American context, with its unrealized ideals using specific historic or contemporary moments, and with fully realized individuals experiencing inequality. Tracy Floreani, director of the Center for Interpersonal Study through Film & Literature at OCU, says the series looks at events beyond what many consider the Civil Rights movement in U.S. history.

“Our collective imagination calls forth the black-and-white photojournalistic images of brave marchers under attack and the resonating voices of the leaders who led court cases and civil actions throughout the 1950s and ‘60s. But the fundamental notion of civil rights has been built into the value systems of our culture from the beginning,” Floreani said.

At each session in the series, a humanities scholar makes a presentation on the book in the context of the theme. Small group discussions follow with experienced discussion leaders. At the end, all participants come together for a brief wrap-up. Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Center for Interpersonal Studies at 405-208-5707 or [email protected].

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