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Transcendent Kingdom is a powerful story about identity, family, the human mind, and the shared effort by religion and science to explain experience of human life. Gifty’s scientific endeavors, familial life, and examination of faith reveals numerous issues and events that touch upon our own lives and the communities that surround us.
To empower Northeastern students to learn more about the issues highlighted in Transcendent Kingdom, the University Honors Program invites all Northeastern students to take part in a full semester of Next Pages programming inspired by Yaa Gyasi’s novel. Event descriptions and links to register are below.
Next Pages 2021 Events
August 25, 11am EST.
Northeastern instructors who are adopting Transcendent Kingdom in their classes have a special opportunity to speak with Yaa Gyasi about how they might teach the issues raised in her award-winning book.
September 13, 6:30pm EST – Register Here
Yaa Gyasi is excited to converse with entering Northeastern students about their impressions and curiosities regarding Transcendent Kingdom.
September 9, 11am – 1pm, Willis Tent
Transcendent Kingdom highlights the need for open communication and acceptance of mental health issues. Stop by the Library Quad for interactive activities on wellness topics like mental health, physical health, alcohol education, sexual health and consent/ relationships. There will be giveaways and information on Northeastern resources!
September 14, 28 | October 12, 26 | November 2, 16, 30 | 6:00pm-8:00pm EST – Register Here
Professor Vanessa Johnson, Bouvé
In this Inside the Honors Studio series, open to all, you will use Transcendent Kingdom and the poem We Wear the Masks by Paul Laurence Dunbar as you work to understand mental illness in the context of culture and racism. Applications are due September 10 for this 6-session experience.
September 16, 12pm EST – Register Here
Executive Director Alexander Kern & Sagar Rajpal, Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service
Transcendent Kingdom reveals how both faith and neuroscience can result in our better understanding of human health and wellness. In this 1-hr experiential training, you will explore the concept and origins of mindfulness and learn how it can support wellness and offer greater clarity and balance for problem-solving, decision-making, and improved relationships.
September 20, 2pm EST – Register Here
Professor Heather Brenhouse, College of Science
In Transcendent Kingdom, Gifty’s family was affected by depression and drug addiction—two diseases that reflect disorders in motivation and reward processing. Dr. Brenhouse will delve into the mechanisms that Gifty investigated in her doctoral research, exploring some of the brain and body (yes, body) circuits that control our experience of, and responses to, rewarding stimuli in our environment. You’ll explore how the stress of immigration and racism can ignite psychiatric illnesses.
September 14 & 28; and October 12, 6:15-7:30pm ET – Register Here
Professor Kat Gonso, CSSH
The spark for Gyasi’s novel was a visit to a Stanford University lab where a friend worked; it was not intended as a research trip. It began as a short story and morphed into a novel with several autobiographical elements. In this three-part Writers’ Workshop, we’ll discuss how to pull stories from the everyday: your life, the news, and random encounters. Each writer will have the opportunity to receive feedback on a work-in-progress.
September 20 | October 4, 18 | November 1, 15, & 29 | 6pm EST. – Register Here
Dr. Alexander Kern & Sagar Rajpal, Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service
Gyasi is an acclaimed writer. The act of writing is much more than an accomplishment of technical proficiency; it is a practice that can sustain our wellbeing and teach us about ourselves. You are warmly invited to this workshop on the spiritual practice of creative writing, where you will learn how to use creative writing as a means of promoting wellness, growth, and creative expression. No experience necessary. Supplies provided.
September 22nd, 12pm EST. – Register Here
In the spirit of Ghana, join instructor Dan “Thunder” Foote at a community drum circle celebrating the healing powers of music. Electrocuted at the age of 19 after his first year of college at a conservatory of music, Dan (like the Phoenix) rose from the ashes to rebuild his life and thrives as a working musician in the greater Boston area. Instruments and materials provided.
September 25, 11:00am-3:00pm EST. – Register Here
Professors Ángel Nieves and Jessica Linker, CSSH
Both of Gifty’s parents confronted the challenges of transitioning to a new and unfamiliar home. It’s easy to feel disconnected from the history of a place, especially when you might only be living on a college campus for a few years. In this event, you’ll go on a scavenger hunt designed to expose you to Boston’s hidden histories of African American, Asian American, and LGBTQiA communities that surround Northeastern.
September 28, 1pm – 3pm EST. – Register Here
Kelly Moran, University Health and Counseling Services
Gifty’s experiences as a student were complex, leading her to question who she was as a person, an emerging professional, and a daughter. This workshop—an introduction to using art mediums to support self-development and care—will enable you to explore some of the transitions and emotions you’ve recently experienced, from COVID-19 to beginning college, while developing coping skills for the future. Meet a UHCS clinician and begin your discovery.
October 7, 6pm – 7pm EST. – Register Here
Cinqué Dunham-Carson, John D. O’Bryant Institute
Gifty’s first years as an undergraduate student were important (and tumultuous) moments of discovery in her life. The college experience is a great arena to discover, discard, and re-imagine various aspects of one’s many identities. Join us for a student-led discussion on the opportunities and challenges of identity as an undergraduate learner, inspired by themes of Transcendent Kingdom.
October 13, 7pm EST. – Register Here
Brigitte Cronin, Sophie Horton, Olivia Hutchins, Grace Rootness, and Emma Tusuzian
Gifty found it difficult to talk with her mother about her depression. Join student organizations Lean On Me, Active Minds, and Husky to Husky for an interactive workshop on how to handle tough conversations and communicate effectively with those around you. This workshop will cover conversation skills, mental health resources on and off campus, and how to find professional help.
October 14, 7pm EST. – Register Here
Joshua Leaston, College of Science Alum
Joshua Leaston, a Northeastern graduate, current Stanford MD student, and cofounder of the Boston-based nonprofit organization Envision Difference, will explain how you can start your own nonprofit to tackle many societal issues such as mental health, substance use, and other topics that were touched upon in Transcendent Kingdom. Come with ideas and questions about how you can integrate community service into your Northeastern experience.
October 20, 6pm EST. – Register Here
Dr. Alexander Kern & Sagar Rajpal, Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service
Transcendent Kingdom discusses how the practice of religion and science mutually pursue the uncovering of truth and meaning in our lives. Explore the intersections of faith, science, and reason with Spiritual Advisors of different world religions and traditions.
October 28, 6:30pm EST. – Register Here
Professor Craig Ferris, College of Science, and students
As depicted in Transcendent Kingdom, advances in neuroscience enable us to observe and map the inner workings of the brain. Professor Craig Ferris, Director of the Center for Translational NeuroImaging, and student researchers, will guide us through their lab, illustrating how their work with magnetic resonance empowers our understanding the neurobiology of the brain in health and disease, including opioid addiction, while forging pathways of success for students.
November 2, 6pm EST. – Register Here
Lauren Granata, College of Science
Gifty’s life experiences lead her to STEM research and, ultimately, to a career in neuroscience. How does her story compare with that of an actual PhD student? In this session, Lauren Granata will discuss her life as a doctoral student in behavioral neuroscience, sharing how her past and present inform her work about how early life environments shape the brain to guide social behaviors.
November 3, 3pm EST. – Register Here
Professors Peter Maber and Riyukta Raghunath, New College of the Humanities, London
Wicked problems are social or cultural problems that are difficult to explain and inherently impossible to solve. Dr’s Maber and Raghunath will host an online multidisciplinary panel discussion focusing on “wicked” problems arising from Transcendent Kingdom. Touching on topics such as identity and ideology, this session takes an intellectual approach by engaging in meaningful dialogue that embraces empathy and mutual respect.