Academic First Year Experiences

  • Book covers for the Freshman Common Reading at CSUN 2007-2016

CSUN's Freshman Common Reading

To the Entering Freshman Class of 2016-2017

Book cover shows a face with red paint splashed across the eyes and mouth.

Welcome to Cal State Northridge! CSUN's Freshman Common Reading for 2016-2017 is So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. 

As a new freshman, you are invited to read this book and to discuss it as part of a campus-wide community of readers. If you are enrolled in UNIV 100 for fall or summer 2016, you will have the opportunity to read So You've Been Publicly Shamed as part of the course. But even if you're not taking UNIV 100, reading and talking about the book will remind you that shared intellectual engagement is at the very center of the academic community that you are about to join. The Freshman Common Reading Program invites everyone on campus to think, talk, and learn together across and beyond the boundaries of the classroom by using the book as a starting point.

Jon Ronson (the author of So You've Been Publicly Shamed) was the keynote speaker at Freshman Convocation on Thursday, September 15, 2016. After the ceremony, he autographed books just east of the Oviatt Library's front portico.  Did you miss it? View the video.

Read this book; talk about it with other students; discuss it with faculty, with staff, with administrators, with friends, and even--who knows?--with your family. 

About the book

This non-fiction book examines the contemporary phenomenon of internet shaming. Ronson explores what happens when "citizen justice" gets rolling on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). At first he thinks public shaming is "the democratization of justice" (10). But he gradually discovers something very different:  "You don't have any rights when you're accused on the Internet.  And the consequences are worse.  It's worldwide forever" (90).

The book raises significant questions about social media, privacy, the internet, journalism, crime, and ethics.  Its themes connect to courses taught in many departments at CSUN, including Cinema & Television Arts, Computer Science, Criminology, English, Ethics, Gender & Women's Studies, Journalism, Marketing, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Queer Studies, Religious Studies, Social Justice, Sociology, Stretch Composition, and of course University 100.

Read more in this CSUN Today article about the book:  CSUN Incoming Freshmen to Explore Modern-Day Public Shaming in Common Reading Book by CSUN student Christine Michaels (12 July 2016).

Who chose this book? What other books were nominated?

A committee made up of CSUN faculty, staff, and students chose So You've Been Publicly Shamed from a list of 15 nominated titles.  

Assignment ideas for faculty and staff using So You've Been Publicly Shamed

Discussion topics and classroom assignments faculty and staff can use with So You've Been Publicly Shamed are posted on the faculty-staff resource page. If you have a new idea to add to this collection, please email it to me and I'll add it to the collection.

Student Designs: So You've Been Publicly Shamed