Open Minds Book Club

The Open Minds Book Club invites thoughtful participation from GVSU students, faculty and staff, Hauenstein Center members, and community members. Kahler Sweeney, program manager of the Common Ground Initiative, and Brian Bowdle, associate professor of psychology, will host discussions once a semester on books that seek to understand and serve the needs of our democratic society.

Liberalism and Its Discontents by Francis Fukuyama

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama famously referred to the triumph of liberal societies over all others as “the end of history.” At the time, it seemed that societies embracing individual rights, democracy, and rule of law would stand as the sole political systems of note. Thirty years later, with criticism of liberalism on the rise from all sides of the political spectrum and its future in doubt, Fukuyama offers a defense of classical liberalism and outlines new guiding principles for societies such as ours.

The Open Minds Book Club invites thoughtful participation from GVSU students, faculty and staff, Hauenstein Center members, and community members. Kahler Sweeney, program manager of the Common Ground Initiative, and Brian Bowdle, associate professor of psychology, will host discussions twice a semester on books that seek to understand and serve the needs of our democratic society.

Join us as we discuss the core themes of this semester’s pick, Liberalism and its Discontents, by Francis Fukuyama. The Open Minds Book Club’s first meeting of the academic year will be on Wednesday, October 19, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the GVSU Pew Campus University Club.

Please order or request your copy of the book by October 3rd to allow time for shipping and to enjoy the reading before the discussion. Members of the Hauenstein Center and Grand Valley State University students will receive a free copy with registration.

Open Minds Book Club - October 2022

Thank you for your interest in participating in the Open Minds Book Club!

For the October 2022 session of Open Minds, we will be reading and discussing Liberalism and Its Discontents by Francis Fukuyama.

The discussion for this book will be held on October 19, 2022 at the Grand Valley University Club (107C DeVos) from 4:00 p.m - 6:00 p.m.

If you are a current GVSU student or current member of the Hauenstein Center the book will be provided to you. 

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Past Titles

Thursday, April 14, 2022 Suspicious Minds by Robert Brotherton 

Wednesday, January 27, 2022 — No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

Wednesday, September 8, 2021 —  Mistrust: Why Losing Faith in Institutions Provides the Tools to Transform Them by Ethan Zuckerman

Thursday, June 24, 2021 — Self Portrait in Black and White by Thomas Chatterton Williams

Friday, March 12, 2021  Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech by Keith E. Whittington


Goals of the Open Minds Book Club

Initiating the kinds of conversations necessary for fostering an informed citizenry and wise leadership
Bridging cultural, ideological, and generational divides through civil discourse
Growing a shared sense of belonging in our West Michigan community


Page last modified September 15, 2022