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What Is Preface?    

Preface is a first-year reading program that introduces students to the joy of academic inquiry. As such, it combines guided reading of a selected text with co-curricular events in which students discuss questions raised by the text with university, community and national experts. During this program, first-year students read the Preface text in English 101 and most University 101 courses and attend related events in both English 101 and 102. 

This is an archive of every event that has been held as part of Preface since the program’s inception. 

Kindred By: Octavia Butler

Kindred Book Cover Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning and Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters. Each time, the stays grow longer, more arduous and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.

About the Author

Octavia Butler (1947-2006) was the author of many novels, including Dawn, Adulthood Rites, Imago, Seed to Harvest, Wild Seed, Fledgling, Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents, Patternmaster, Mind of My Mind, Survivor and Clay's Ark, as well as a collection of shorter works, Bloodchild and Other Stories. She was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the PEN American Center, and both the Hugo and Nebula awards twice.

September 2, 6-7 p.m., CLC Ballroom 
Lamar Nelson, Lead Archeologist of The Foothills Chapter of the Archeological Society of South Carolina, 
“The Plantation Next Door: Archeological Findings from Walnut Grove Plantation.”

September 9, 6-7 p.m., CLC Ballroom
Dr. Cassandra Jones, Assistant Professor of African-American Studies, 
“Afrofuturism: Re-mixing History.”

September 17 (Constitution Day), 6-7 p.m., Tukey Theater
Dr. Dwight Lambert, Professor of Political Science, 
“The Constitution and Inequality: Examining America's Birth Defect.”

September 25, 6-7 p.m., CLC Ballroom
Dr. Carmen Harris, Associate Professor of History, 
“All Our Kin: Slavery and Family Relations across the Color Line.”

September 30, 6-7 p.m., CLC Ballroom
Dr. Keith McDaniel, Instructor of African-American Studies and Senior Pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, 
“The Bible and Slavery: The Evolution of Black Theological Thought.”

October 2-4, 8 p.m. and October 5, 3 p.m., HPAC Theater
USC Upstate’s The Shoestring Players stage “To Kill a Mocking Bird.”

October 8, 6-7 p.m., CLC Ballroom
Dr. Jennifer Parker, Professor of Psychology, 
“Sex, Power and Coercion: Examining the Dynamics of Abusive Relationships.”

October 16, 6-7 p.m., CLC Ballroom
Dr. Tracey Weldon, Associate Professor of Linguistics at USC-Columbia, 
“Talking White, Talking Black: Examining the Links between Language, Class and Racial Identity.”

October 21, 6-7 p.m., URC Great Room
Dr. Stephen Fitzmaurice, Assistant Professor of Interpreting at Clemson University,
“Unheard Voices: The Deaf Experience over Time.”

October 30, 7-8 p.m., URC Great Room
Keynote Address by Nisi Shawl
“Octavia Butler’s Positive Obsession: Life and the  Urge to Create”
Award-winning author Nisi Shawl has written extensively on her friend Octavia Butler, and recently co-edited an anthology about her life and work (Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler from Aqueduct Press).  Shawl serves on the board of the Carl Brandon Society, administrators of the Butler Memorial Scholarship


Dr. Peter Caster
Department Chair

Dr. Monika Shehi
Preface Coordinator

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