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Home » , » Roxbury Arts Presents: American Politics & Community Today: Reading and Discussion Series

Roxbury Arts Presents: American Politics & Community Today: Reading and Discussion Series

Written By Editor on 2/1/17 | 2/1/17

What does it mean to be an American in the 21 st century? What does a model American do, and what

responsibilities do Americans have to their communities and each other? How have the answers to

these questions changed over the history of the United States? Participants a new program being

offered by the Roxbury Arts Group will engage with these questions and others regarding politics and

the current state of civic thought, feeling, and participation.

The Reading & Discussion Program will focus on the books The Book of Daniel, a novel by E.L.

Doctorow, and Talking to Strangers, Anxiety of Citizenship Since Brown vs. Board of Education, by

Danielle S. Allen. Discussions about the books will be led by Jennifer Kabat at the Roxbury Arts Center,

5025 Vega Mountain Road, Roxbury NY on February 15, March 1, March 15, and March 29 from 6:00-

7:30p on each date. Community members who would like to participate can borrow the books directly

from the Roxbury Arts Group by contacting Miguel Martinez Riddle at 607.326.7908 or This event is free and open to the public.

Leading the discussion series is Margaretville resident Jennifer Kabat. Kabat, a writer and essayist, is

also a co-founder of the collaborative essay site, The Weeklings. She has been a guest critic at Yale,

the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Virginia Common Wealth

University in Qatar, and other institutions. Her writing has been published in the Los Angeles Review of

Books, BOMB, Harper’s, The Believer, The White Review, Salon, The Guardian, and Granta, among

others. She’s received multiple grants to support her writing including an Arts Writers Grant for her

criticism and was recently artist-in- residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in California. She

serves on the advisory board for the poetry collective Ugly Duckling Presse, and teaches contemporary

art and theory at New York University and design writing at the School of Visual Arts. Currently she is

finishing a collection of essays GROWING UP MODERN exploring civic values from where she grew

up outside Washington, DC to where she lives now in the Catskill Mountains.

“Literature can create empathy by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes,” says Kabat. “That can be

a profound experience. With this program we’re using books that specifically relate to citizenship now

by thinking about civic values and actions in other eras. We live in a small community and the idea that

we can be on the forefront of considering trust and considering what community and citizenship could

be now is really exciting to me. As a writer, looking at the ways civic values manifest (in both good and

bad ways) in everything from the NYC watershed to the forests around us has been really important to

my work, and I am excited to read books with a group and talk about them and our ideas about

participation and community and building that community to make it stronger.”

American Politics & Community Today: Reading & Discussion series begins on February 15, but

participants are encouraged to read the book in advance so they can fully participate in the

conversations. For more information about the upcoming Reading & Discussion, please contact the

Roxbury Arts Group at 607.326.7908 or

This program is made possible by a grant from Humanities New York. All programs offered by

the Roxbury Arts Group are supported by the A. Lindsay and Olive B. O’Connor Foundation, the

Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature, Robert & Nellie Gipson, WIOX Community

Radio 91.3 FM, and the generosity of our business sponsors and individual donors like you.

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