February 26, 2021
Radical Humility: Essays on Ordinary Acts, edited by Stamps Professor Rebekah Modrak and Art & Design Librarian Jamie Vander Broek, will be published by Belt Publishing on March 16, 2021. Three years in the making, the book began in response to shifts in political rhetoric, unwillingness by leaders to acknowledge or apologize for failures, and the heightening influence of social media. Modrak and Vander Broek used University of Michigan MCubed funding to assemble a small team that included themselves, U-M Philosophy Professor Sarah Buss, and U-M Dearborn Marketing Professor Aaron Ahuvia to consider the value of humility. With support from a Stamps grant, the group grew to include additional artists and philosophers, psychologists, race scholars, a lawyer, a cook, New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, consumer culture scholars, and others.
Radial Humility is a collection of essays exploring what we can learn from these thinkers. Why did Socrates choose to question everyone—even the Oracle who proclaimed him to be the wisest of men? How do journalists trained to recede into the background handle the pressure to be a social media presence? Why are maker cultures as good at celebrating failure as they are at championing success? Having witnessed the personal and civic costs of narcissism and arrogance, Radical Humility’s writers consider humility as a valuable process—a state of being—with the power to impact institutions, systems, families, and individuals, and give voice to the ways in which humility is practiced in many ordinary but extraordinary actions. The book is available for pre-order at the Belt Publishing website (https://beltpublishing.com/) , and will be available at your local bookstore, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers on March 16.
Literati Bookstore will kick off the book’s launch with a virtual event on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 7–8pm, featuring an introduction and 3-minute readings by five essayists in the book:
—Ruth Nicole Brown, an artist-scholar whose life work is dedicated to the celebration of Black girlhood.
—Lynette Clemetson, a longtime journalist who loves helping reporters do their best work, and director of the Knight-Wallace Fellowships for Journalists and the Livingston Awards at the University of Michigan.
—Mickey Duzyj, an artist & director known for his innovative use of animation in documentary film and creator/director of the critically-acclaimed Netflix documentary series LOSERS (2019).
—Rebekah Modrak, a writer and artist whose interventionist artworks resist consumer culture.
—Jamie Vander Broek, an art librarian at the University of Michigan, and a trustee on the Ann Arbor District Library Board.
—Jennifer Cole Wright, a Professor of Psychology at the College of Charleston, USA who researches how moral values and norms develop over time.