2016-2017 Common Book
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains (2010)
by Nicholas Carr
“Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?
Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration of the Internet’s intellectual and cultural consequences yet published. As he describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by “tools of the mind”—from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer—Carr interweaves a fascinating account of recent discoveries in neuroscience by such pioneers as Michael Merzenich and Eric Kandel. Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways.” –
About Nicholas Carr
“Nicholas Carr is the author of The Shallows, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, as well as The Big Switch and Does IT Matter? His articles and essays have appeared in
The Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and the
New Republic, and he writes the widely read blog Rough Type. He has been writer-in-residence at the University of California, Berkeley, and an executive editor of the Harvard Business Review.” –
W.W. Norton & Company
Nicholas Carr’s website
Nicholas Carr’s blog, Rough Type
NPR author interview
with Nicholas Carr, “The Shallows: This is Your Brain Online” on
All Things Considered, June 2, 2010.
“The Shallows is a book everyone should read.”
—Anna Lena Phillips, American Scientist
“In his new book, The Shallows, Nicholas Carr has written a Silent Spring for the literary mind.”
Michael Agger, Slate
“Carr has brought to public attention an important line of inquiry; calling us to a closer examination of the proper role of technology, both in our lives and in the larger culture.”
“Cogent, urgent and well worth reading.”
“Carr provides a deep, enlightening examination of how the Internet influences the brain and its neural pathways … His fantastic investigation of the effect of the Internet on our neurological selves concludes with a very humanistic petition for balancing our human and computer interactions … Highly recommended.” [starred review]
“The medium may be the message, Carr suggests, but only so long as the medium stays hidden. Reveal its inner workings — and the groupthink or brain damage it can cause — and we will see the necessity of resisting. We will be empowered to turn Google to our purposes rather than being turned to Google’s.”
— Gary Greenberg, --The Nation
Please make sure to visit the RIC LibGuide for this year's book to view additional information and interactive content!
"The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains" by Nicholas Carr
Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows:
What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,
will be speaking at RIC on Thursday, October 13, 2016, at 4:00 p.m. in Alger 110 with book signing to follow.
This event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Open Books – Open Minds, College Lectures, the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the dean of the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development.
Click here to view event poster
Visit Nicholas Carr’s website:
Open Books - Open Minds Film Series
The Imitation Game (2014, dir. Morten Tyldum)
During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.
The Sixth Annual Open Books – Open Minds Conference
2017 Conference Program
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Panels, posters, and roundtables: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Adams Library
Lunch and Keynote Lecture: 12:30 – 2:00 pm, Student Union Ballroom
The conference is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Registration is now open!Click here to register.
Keynote lecture, “From the Shallows to Depth — Virtual Reality in the Age of Telepresence,” by Adam Blumenthal, Virtual Artist-in-Residence, Brown University
and co-founder of Curious Sense http://curioussense.com
This year OBOM is partnering with the Center for Research and Creative Activity (CRCA, https://www.ric.edu/crca/) so that the Student Conference will coincide with presentations of student projects at the College-Wide Poster Session in Adams Library. OBOM Student Conference panels, on topics of inquiry inspired by The Shallows, will also be held in the library. Lunch and the keynote address will take place in the Student Union Ballroom.
Call for Papers
Ideas for Teaching and Research
RIC LibGuide for
The Shallows: http://ric.libguides.com/shallows
The Shallows Reading Guide
Nicholas Carr’s website:
Campus News articles:
Are We Being Controlled By Technology?
OBOM Roundtable to Discuss
OBOM Common Books Takes a Look at Mind-Altering Technology
Click here to view upcoming events inspired by Nicholas Carr’s
Open Books - Open Minds Film Series
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
4:00-6:30 PM in Student Union 307
An imposing black structure provides a connection between past and future in this classic sci-fi film, based on the story by Arthur C. Clarke.
We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists(2012, dir. Brian Knappenberger)
4:00-6:30 PM in Horace Mann 193
A documentary on the workings and beliefs of the self-described “hacktivist” collective, Anonymous.
Her (2013, dir. Spike Jonze)
12-2 PM in Horace Mann 193
A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly-purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need.
Blade Runner (1982, dir. Ridley Scott)
12-2 PM in Horace Mann 193
In 2019, an ex-detective is called out of retirement to track down and eliminate a team of humanoid androids that have escaped from slavery on a space mining colony.
Click here to view film series poster.
Open Books – Open Minds Lecture
“Margaret Atwood and Environmental Dystopia: When Technology Goes Wrong”
Dr. Pamela Bedore
Monday, April 17, 10:00-11:50 a.m.
Donovan Dining Faculty Center South
Dr. Pamela Bedore is associate professor of English at the University of Connecticut. She has published widely on science fiction, detective fiction, and cultural theory, and has most recently authored
The Great Courses lecture series “Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature.”
The Sixth Annual Open Books – Open Minds
Featuring keynote lecture by Adam Blumenthal, Virtual Artist-in-Residence, Brown University, and co-founder of Curious Sense http://curioussense.com
Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This year OBOM is partnering with the Center for Research and Creative Activity (CRCA, http://www.ric.edu/crca/) so that the Student Conference will coincide with presentations of student projects at the College-Wide Poster Session in Adams Library. OBOM Student Conference panels, on topics of inquiry inspired by The Shallows, will also be held in the library. Lunch and the keynote address will take place in the Student Union Ballroom.
Click here for more information about the Student Conference.