By Rebecca Edwards ’21 / Photo by David J. Turner

As we celebrate the Class of 2021, we pause our usual focus on faculty bookshelves to ask student government president Fatiya Kedir ’21 (Minneapolis) about some of her formative reads.

What’s a standout book that you’ve read recently?
All About Love, by bell hooks, taught me a lot about radical love and self-care. I found that book right when I needed to find it, right after last summer. It helped me frame everything about the summer and about my own goals as I started my final year at college. It taught me something so basic, but fundamental to my work in my own community: that any work needs to always start and be rooted in the self.

What’s one of your all-time favorite reads?
Angela Davis: An Autobiography. Autobiographies can be overly glorifying, but I love this one because it seems very genuine. She’s an iconic Black woman, but in addition to that, she’s also an incredible being in the ways that she is able to truly reflect the full and true human experience in her writing. Her autobiography is no exception. She is able to be honest about the good, the bad, and the mixed, in a way that made her even more impactful and powerful in my eyes.

What book is crucial to understanding your academic niche?
We read Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism in my international studies capstone class with Professor Ahmed Samatar. It was published in 1905, so you get the specific history about institutions that helped root capitalism in its present form. I’m really interested in seeing how it relates to capitalism today, neo-liberalism, and why it’s so deeply entangled in the ways that we view each other. It changed the way that I view the system I live in.

Any guilty-pleasure reads?
Comic books—and manga even more—and although I don’t own many, I do enjoy stealing some from my brothers when I go home on the weekends. I went from Junie B. Jones when I was first learning English to Magic Tree House, then straight to chapter books. I thought I was so cool for reading chapter books, but I wish I had read more comic books then. I’m thankful for them now.

What book would you recommend to everybody at Macalester?
All About Love is one. We do have a sense of community and care at Macalester—we’re not competing with each other, but we can be really competitive toward ourselves. The way it talks about love is rooted in self-care in order to reach community care. Sedric McClure recommended one recently that I’m still reading: No Future Without Forgiveness, about the South African apartheid. Even if you don’t necessarily know much about apartheid or South Africa today, it’s really helpful to understand what forgiveness is, whether it’s self-forgiveness or forgiveness of people around you.

April 23 2021

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