Pullman, Wash. — The Washington State University Common Reading Program hosts a lecture titled “Not All Video Games and the Brat Pack: AIDS Stigma from the 1980s to the Digital Age,” on Tues. Sept. 5 at 5 pm in CUE 203. Matthew Jeffries, from the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center, will lead the discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

Jefferies plans to discuss, what he feels, is a rosy image of the 1980s that Earnest Cline paints in Ready Player One, this year’s Common Reading book. In his lecture, Jefferies will highlight the strife that did indeed plague the 80s, especially for the LGBTQ community.  He will address the stigmas surrounding the HIV/AIDS crisis of that time and how they continue to prevail today, even in digital spaces.

The WSU-wide common reading program has started a new two-year theme initiative. The current theme for 2017-2019 is “frontiers of technology, health, and society.” Ready Player One highlights applications of technology in a variety of fields but also encourages exploration into ethical dilemmas and changing senses of identity that arise in an increasingly digital world.

The Common Reading Program began in Pullman in 2007 to help students, their teachers and the community better engage in academically centered critical thinking, communication, research and learning around a body of shared information presented in a single, specially selected book.

Currently, the Common Reading program is accepting book nominations for the 2018-19 academic year. For more information about the Common Reading program, nominating a book, this year’s book, and upcoming events visit: https://commonreading.wsu.edu/.

MEDIA: Karen Weathermon, WSU Common Reading Program co-director, WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-5488, weathermon@wsu.edu

Emma Epperly, Communications and Marketing Assistant, WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-9458, UCHCCommMar.5@wsu.edu