Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the Common Read/Common World?
Common Read/Common World, USA's Common Read Experience is a voluntary, campus-wide reading program. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to read the same book and participate in discussions and activities in the classroom and on-campus. Common Read/Common World supports the university's mission of providing high-quality teaching, research, public service, and healthcare that create, communicate, preserve, and apply knowledge in service to Alabama as citizens in a global world. The program supports Goal One of the Strategic Plan: Build upon the academic quality and learning environment of the University.

Why should I participate?
The Common Reading Experience provides:

  • An introduction to academic expectations and intellectual engagement
  • A common experience with peers and faculty
  • Opportunities for self-reflection and critical thinking
  • A powerful, meaningful, and fun experience

How will the text be used?
The book may be used in various courses as determined by faculty. There will be events including films and performances, a lecture series, discussion groups, and much more. See the upcoming event schedule for more details.

Is participation required?
Participation is not a University requirement, but the book may be incorporated into the curriculum. Faculty, in various disciplines, may require the book in their courses.

How do I get a copy of the book?
Copies are available for purchase at the USA Bookstore and at your local bookstore. Copies are available for loan at the University Library.  If you are a student with a documented disability and wish to request this text in an alternate format, please contact the Center for Educational Accessibility & Disability Resources at (251) 460-7212.  No alternate format copies will be supplied without proper documentation.  If you are faculty or staff and are interested in participating in this program or reviewing the text, please email

How is the book selected?
The Common Read/Common World Committee considers the following criteria when selecting the Common Read:

  • Potential to engage students and spark passionate discussion
  • Appeal to a wide range of students
  • Possibilities for classroom use among various departments, including First-Year Experience
  • Inclusion of cross-cultural education, awareness, knowledge and sensitivity
  • Possibilities for campus programming
  • Richness of themes; interdisciplinary in nature
  • Relevance to student life
  • Available in paperback
  • 400 pages or less

How can I recommend a book?
Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to submit recommendations for future selections. Submit an online recommendation.

How can I learn more about the book and/or author? 
To learn more about "Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo,’" visit this link.

How can I get more information about the program and/or the book?
If you need more information than what is available on our website, please email