Tharp to kick off Wisconsin Reads event on March 8

By UW-Baraboo/Sauk County

(Baraboo, Wis.)  Dr. Julie Tharp, professor of English and American Indian Studies at University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County, will kick off Baraboo’s National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Big Read “Wisconsin Reads The Round House” with an introductory talk on Louise Erdrich’s novel, The Round House. This Distinguished Lecture will take place on Thursday, March 8, 12:30 – 2 p.m., in A-104 on the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County campus.  This lecture is free and open to the public.  Food will be served.

Tharp, a scholar of Native American writers and author of “Erdrich’s Crusade: Sexual Violence and The Round House,” will explore some of the challenges Native American women face when it comes to sexual violence and the legal complications that make social justice so elusive. The Round House follows the thoughts and actions of Joe Coutts, a young Native American boy, as he seeks to avenge the brutal rape of his mother, Geraldine. The sexual assault of Geraldine takes place on tribal land, which complicates the investigation/prosecution of the non-Native offender. Joe’s father, Basil, is a tribal judge who feels helpless at his lack of ability to help his wife; the novel delves into the convoluted laws and jurisdictions that make it difficult for legal authorities to prosecute crimes that occur on Indian reservations.

Additional book discussions led by University of Wisconsin Colleges Diversity Specialist Jo Teut will take place March 12, March 29, and April 12, alternating between UW-Baraboo/Sauk County and the Ho-chunk House of Wellness, while the Baraboo Public Library will host a special panel discussion “Healing and Justice in our Community” with legal scholar Sarah Deer and others on March 21 (please see for times and further information).

The Wisconsin Reads The Round House project was created through a collaboration by UW Colleges and Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community Colleges’ students, faculty, and staff with the objective of bringing communities around the state together to discuss The Round House. More than 70 events will take place across the state in the cities and surrounding areas of Rice Lake, Hayward/LCO, Marshfield, Baraboo, West Bend/Germantown, and Waukesha/Milwaukee in March and April of 2018 and will include discussions, films, lectures, art exhibits, and story-telling workshops, as well as programs for area youth.

A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Minneapolis-based Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read is meant to broaden understanding of the world and our communities through the sharing of a good book. For additional information on the Wisconsin Reads The Round House program and upcoming events, please visit the website at or contact Lee Friederich, Project Director:  For more information about UW-Baraboo/Sauk County, visit 




Treasa Bane