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The Rambler Read is Loyola University Chicago’s common reading experience, an opportunity for the Loyola community to engage in meaningful, shared discussions about important issues. This year's Rambler Read is Thick: And Other Essays, a 2019 National Book Award finalist, analyzes and interrogates race, gender, beauty, media, and money in eight honest and thought-provoking essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom.
Each new student will receive a copy of the Rambler Read at New Student Convocation on Friday, August 27, and will be encouraged to read it during the academic year. We also invite you to read Thick: And Other Essays, incorporate it into your classes or programs this next year, and discuss its themes with colleagues and students. As a community, we can look forward to hearing from Dr. McMillan Cottom when she visits the Lake Shore Campus on Wednesday, February 23, 2022. More details to come!
Thick “transforms narrative moments into analyses of whiteness, black misogyny, and status-signaling as means of survival for black women” (Los Angeles Review of Books) with “writing that is as deft as it is amusing” (Darnell L. Moore).
This “transgressive, provocative, and brilliant” (Roxane Gay) collection cements McMillan Cottom’s position as a public thinker capable of shedding new light on what the “personal essay” can do. She turns her chosen form into a showcase for her critical dexterity, investigating everything from Saturday Night Live, LinkedIn, and BBQ Becky to sexual violence, infant mortality, and Trump rallies.
Collected in an indispensable volume that speaks to the everywoman and the erudite alike, these unforgettable essays never fail to be “painfully honest and gloriously affirming” and hold “a mirror to your soul and to that of America” (Dorothy Roberts).
“Thick is sure to become a classic.” —The New York Times Book Review
Tressie McMillan Cottom, PhD is an associate professor in the iSchool at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Information, Technology and Public Life (UNC), Faculty Associate at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center, and 2020 MacArthur Fellow. Audiences and institutions have lauded her for incisive analysis and impact. Her current research examines racial capitalism in platform economies and what she calls “hustleprenuership.” From her award-winning essay collection THICK (2019 National Book Award Finalist) to the critically acclaimed Lower Ed, McMillan Cottom centers Black women as rational actors making the best of the choices they are given.
In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom—award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed—is unapologetically “thick”: deemed “thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less,” McMillan Cottom refuses to shy away from blending the personal with the political, from bringing her full self and voice to the fore of her analytical work.
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