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.
While Preface is geared primarily toward first-year students, it offers a calendar of events that are relevant to a wide range of university courses as well as the community. Therefore the events are planned in close cooperation with various departments and offices of USC Upstate and most events are free and open to the public. This fall, first-year writing students will read Octavia Butler's Kindred.
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.
The intent of this series of programs is to help USC Upstate first-year students make connections to each other and to the University, to practice skills that contribute to success in college, and to discuss how a deeper understanding of a shared reading can inform the way we make personal decisions and influence public policy today.
For more information about previous Preface Program readings and events, see the Preface Program Archive.