Alumni Reading Groups

Intellectual engagement after graduation

One of the signature experiences of Christ College is meeting with fellow students to discuss important texts and cultural monuments. Christ College alumni reading groups, which have formed in:

  • Amherst, Massachusetts
  • Austin, Texas –
  • Chicago, Illinois –
  • Chicago, Illinois –
  • Cincinnati, Ohio –
  • Columbus, Ohio –
  • Denver, Colorado –
  • Detroit, Michigan –
  • Indianapolis, Indiana –
  • Lincoln, Nebraska –
  • Los Angeles, California –
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota –
  • Rockford, Illinois –
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota –
  • St. Louis, Missouri –
  • Valparaiso, Indiana –
  • Washington, D.C. –

These groups give alumni a cherished opportunity to continue these life-changing conversations and participate in the life of the College. Each year, Christ College provides the groups with a syllabus, including a reading list and suggested discussion questions, that touches on themes and texts that are discussed in Christ College that year. Check out the 50th Anniversary page for Reading Group syllabi back to 2002!


2019-2020 Alumni Reading Group Syllabus



2018-2019 Alumni Reading Group Syllabus

First Discussion:

Avishai Margalit, “Human Dignity between Kitsch and Deification”

Jeffrey G. Murphy, “The Elusive Nature of Human Dignity”

Second Discussion:

Michael Fishbane, “The Image of God and the Human Ideal”

Krista Trippet’s interview with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, The Dignity of Difference,

Third Discussion:

Lisa Sowle Cahill, “Embodying God’s Image: Created, Broken, Redeemed”

John Paul II, “Laborem Exercens”,

Fourth Discussion:

Seyyed Hossein Nasr, “Standing Before God: Human Responsibilities and Human Rights”

Tariq Ramadan, “Equal Rights and Equal Dignity of Human Beings”,

Qianfan Zhang, “The Idea of Human Dignity in Classical Chinese Philosophy”

Fifth Discussion:

Richard Amesbury and George M. Newlands, “What are Human Rights” & “Human Rights and the Problem of Grounding”

Abdulaziz Sachedina, “The Clash of Universalisms: Religious and Secular in Human Rights”,

Nicholas Wolsterstorff, “Response: The Irony of it All”,













2016-2017 Alumni Reading Group Syllabus

Texts, Films, and Websites

Longenecker, Bruce W. The Lost Letters of Pergamum: A Story from the New Testament World. 2nd. ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2016.

Saramago, José. The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. Translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero. New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1994.

Wright, N. T. Simply Jesus: Who He Was, What He Did, Why It Matters. New York: HarperOne, 2011.

Pelikan, Jaroslav. Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1985. [OPTIONAL]


Son of Man (Mark Dornford-May, 2006)

Jesus of Montreal (Denys Arcand, 1989)

Jesus Christ Superstar (Norman Jewison, 1973) [OPTIONAL]

Son of God (Christopher Spencer, 2014) [OPTIONAL]


What Robots Teach Us About Being Human

Texts, Films, and Websites

Asimov, Isaac. 1950. I, robot. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday.

Brooks, Rodney Allen. 2003. Flesh and machines: how robots will change us. New York: Vintage Books.

Dick, Philip K. 1996. Do androids dream of electric sheep? New York: Ballantine Books.

Lin, Patrick, Keith Abney, and George A. Bekey. 2012. Robot ethics: the ethical and social implications of robotics. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Turkle, Sherry. 2011. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York: Basic Books. (optional)

I, Robot (2004)

Blade Runner (1982/1994)

Bicentennial Man (1999)

Wall-e (2008)

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Chappie (2015)

Ex Machina (2015)


What is Beauty?

Texts, Films, and Websites

Roger Scruton, Beauty

Mary Szybist, Incarnadine

Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea

Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

Please listen to Arvo Pärt, Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten (click here for video).

Dean’s Annual Address: “Will Beauty Save the World?”


Strangers and Journeys

Texts, Films, and Websites

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories

Terrance Malik, The New World

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Gabriel Axel, Babette’s Feast