The Common Text

The Common Text Program

Each year the university selects a text or texts to launch the academic year for incoming students. At Seattle University, a key part of our mission is “empowering leaders for a just and humane world.” The Common Text program welcomes students to our Ignatian-inspired process of inquiry that emphasizes meaning-making, intellectual risk-taking, and engaging in deep and critical conversations.

Incoming students receive the year’s Common Text over the summer and are asked to read thoughtfully. The issues raised by the text(s) will be incorporated into some classes and pursued in a year-long series of programs built around the themes.

This website introduces this year’s Common Text and provides resources to help you engage with the text as you read and prepare for the year. We will continue to add materials to the site, so check back regularly and be on the lookout for emails from the Common Text team with details on this year’s events.

Welcome to Seattle University, where we wrestle with big ideas!

Common Text 2022

Text cover of Common Text Know My Name Chanel Miller

We look forward to engaging with Know My Name by Chanel Miller as a university community in 2022-2023. The nation came to know Miller, the survivor of a sexual assault on the Stanford University campus, when she shared her victim impact statement under the pseudonym Emily Doe. In Know My Name, Miller reclaims her identity as a writer, artist, and cultural critic. During the selection process, the Common Text committee noted the theme of resilience in Know My Name: “It holds the tension of pain and hope, without making the focus on getting through trauma, but rather understanding what it takes to live through it and thrive.” Chanel Miller shares her story of trauma and healing, and in the process, invites us not only to interrogate the structures that face victims of assault, but to step up and fight alongside her. This is a necessary conversation, not only for Seattle University but for our national culture.  

Chanel Miller is a writer and artist. Her memoir Know My Name (2019) has been honored with the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Ridenhour Book Prize, and the California Book Award, in addition to being named a best book of the year by Time, the New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, NPR, Glamour, Elle, Library Journal, Kirkus, and others. She has also been named one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 and a Glamour Woman of the Year under her pseudonym Emily Doe.  

In addition to her work’s connections to creative writing and the arts, her recounting of her experience preparing for trial can also inspire conversations in disciplines including nursing and the health sciences, women and gender studies, forensics and criminal justice, psychology, and law. Chanel’s identity as a Chinese-American woman with an immigrant parent connects to both 2021’s Common Text, Jose Antonio Vargas’s Dear America , as well as to recent events surrounding COVID-19 and violence against the Asian American community. 

Through the resources below, we invite you to get to know Chanel Miller through her art and take a deeper dive into the issues raised by her book.  We hope that this text and our accompanying materials offer new perspectives, prompt difficult but necessary conversations, and perhaps even inspire action. Please take the time to read, listen, and watch. Then look for Common Text and partner events throughout the year that will provide you with multiple ways to engage these ideas. 

Introductory Resources

Please begin by reading and viewing the following brief resources.

Note: Please click on "+" to expand, then click on "Access Articles Here" link to access the articles in their external pages.

Introductory Resources 2022

Initial Questions to Consider: 

Questions to accompany your reading can be found in our 2022 Common Text Reading Guide linked below in red:

>>2022 Common Text Reading Guide<<

Common Text Reading Guide Thumbnail


Campus Resources

  • If you or someone close to you has been personally affected by sexual violence, including sexual assault,  dating or domestic violence, stalking, or sexual harassment, this site is designed to guide you to knowledgeable campus and community resources: Get Help | Seattle University

  • TheLemieux Library  offers a number of resources and our dedicated library faculty can help you pursue your research interests: 

  • The Office of Diversity and Inclusion publishes annual Summer Reading lists and offers Red Talks throughout the academic year 

  • The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provide time-limited individual psychotherapy for students and referral services for those requiring specialized or on-going care

  • Find updates on the Common Text program throughout the year and additional resources here. 

  • The University Core Officehas a limited  number of copies of 2019’s Common Text, So You Want to Talk About RaceContact if you are interested in receiving a copy!