Coffeehouse Conversation


On Sept. 23, students gathered in Trimble Forum for an afternoon of intellectual discussion at a Coffeehouse Conversation with Professor Laurie Frankel.  At the event, which was co-sponsored by the Gender Studies and English departments, Frankel discussed publishing and her debut novel, The Atlas of Love. According to Frankel, her talk, entitled Writing With Boobs in the U.S.A., was a “gendered take on book publishing and reviews” and explored “the intersection of English and gender studies.”  After speaking, Frankel answered questions from the audience and sold and signed copies of her book.

Frankel, a visiting assistant professor who teaches classes in the English and Gender Studies departments, has been promoting The Atlas of Love, her debut novel, by doing readings in Seattle, Bellingham, and Portland.  In the coming weeks, she will be traveling to San Francisco and Baltimore.  Frankel said that the Coffeehouse Conversation was a rare and welcomed chance for her to do more than simply read from her book, which chronicles a woman and two friends as they “tri-parent” her baby.

Coffeehouse Conversations will be held twice a semester and are sponsored by the English department.  Each event will include a lecture by a faculty member and a discussion.  “The idea behind Coffeehouse was to give students an idea of faculty work.  Here at Puget Sound, we think a lot about student work.  Students think about it because that’s what they are assigned, and the faculty thinks about it because they have to grade it.  The English department thought students might be interested in the work the faculty does, which is similar to student work but bigger,” explained Frankel.

These events also hope to recreate the coffeehouses of the 18th century, where people gathered to discuss significant topics outside of classrooms or lecture halls.  According to Frankel, the Coffeehouse Conversations are opportunities for “intellectual discussion for the sake of discussion, learning, expanding your mind, and gaining different perspectives.”  Plans for a Coffeehouse Conversation are already in the works for November.