Students, faculty, and staff at the University of Richmond are adding the memoir of a pediatrician from Flint, Michigan to their summer reading lists.

What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City has been announced as the university’s common reading selection for the 2019-20 academic year.

In her book, author Mona Hanna-Attisha, an immigrant, doctor, scientist, and mother, tells a first-hand account of how she, fellow researchers, and activists fought to save the community of Flint, Michigan, from the lead infiltrating their tap water. 

Associate Professor of Anthropology and Global Studies Dr. Rania Sweis intends to have her students discuss What the Eyes Don’t See in the classroom next spring.

“This book crystallizes the inherent value of interdisciplinarity in efforts to understand and eventually remedy political problems,” said Sweis. “Students majoring in anything from chemistry to anthropology are equally drawn to the case of the Flint water crisis and all can see how important collaborative thinking is to real-world problem solving — in this case literally saving lives poisoned by water.”

One Book, One Richmond is a campus-wide annual effort that encourages students, faculty, staff, and members of the Richmond community to read and discuss a selected book on a social justice issue. Past selections have examined race, nationalism, mass incarceration, food insecurity, and poverty.

“Each year the UR community comes together to read and reflect on a book that showcases important lessons in civic engagement,” said One Book, One Richmond committee chair Adrienne Piazza. “We can learn so much from the example of Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha on how the be civically engaged citizens.”

One Book, One Richmond is led by the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement. Related One Book, One Richmond programming is offered on campus throughout the academic year and will be announced at a later date. 

# # #

Associate Director, Student Engagement and Director, Bonner Scholars Program
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Global Studies
Healthcare Studies Faculty Advisory Board
The Middle East and North Africa
Critical medical anthropology
Humanitarianism and global health
Global poverty and international aid
Structural violence and social suffering
Transnational feminist theory
Ethnographic theory and research methods