Ehrenreich talks about
'Nickle and Dimed'


Award-winning political essayist and social critic Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Elon University's common reading, "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America," discussed her book in a special appearance Sept. 14 in Alumni Gym.

Ehrenreich's book was the common reader selected for Elon's incoming freshman class this year. It recounts her first-person experience as one of the millions of Americans who work for poverty-level wages. She took on entry-level service positions to see if anyone could survive, let alone prosper, in these jobs. Traveling across the country, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing home aide and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. Very quickly, she discovered that these low-wage jobs require exhausting mental and muscular effort.

A chapter of Ehrenreich's book was published in Harper's magazine in 1999 and drew widespread interest from readers and the media. The article also won the Sydney Hullman Award for Journalism and a Brill's Content Honorable Mention.

A contributing writer for Time since 1990, Ehrenreich's books include "The Worst Years of Our Lives," a New York Times bestseller, and "Fear of Falling." She has appeared to discuss her work on national programs such as "Good Morning America," "Crossfire," and "All Things Considered." She recently taught in the Women's Studies Program at Brandeis University.

Each year, a committee of Elon students and faculty select a common reader for incoming students. It provides a common point of reference for students and faculty at the start of the school year, and each year's selection is used in classroom discussions and assignments across the curriculum.

Earlier in the day, Ehrenreich participated in a question-and-answer session in Whitley Auditorium sponsored by Elon's Office of Cultural Programs, the Liberal Arts Forum, and the General Studies Program.



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Last Modified:  9/13/04
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