James Baldwin, “Price of a Ticket”

Category : Race, Students, Writing

My soul looks back and wonders how i got over – indeed: but I find it unexpectedly difficult to remember in detail, how I got started. I will never, for example, forget Saul Levitas, the editor of The New Leader, who gave me my first book review assignment sometime in 1946, nor Mary Greene, a wonderful woman, who was his man Friday: but I do not remember exactly how I met them.

Source: Collected Essays  (1985)

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Anatole Broyard, Kafka was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir

Category : Classroom, Students, Writing

My life, or career, in Greenwich Village began when Sheri Donatti invited me to move in with her. Invited is not the right word, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I had just come out of the army and I was looking for a place I could afford when I met Sheri at a party. She had two apartments, she said, and if I understood her way of talking, she was suggesting that I might come and look at one of them.

Source: NY: Random House, 1993: chs. 1-4

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Anatole Broyard, “A Portrait of the Hipster”

Category : Race, Students, Writing

As he was the illegitimate son of the Lost Generation, the hipster was really nowhere. And, just as amputees often seem to localize their strongest sensations in the missing limb, so the hipster longed, from the very beginning, to be somewhere. He was like a beetle on its back; his life was a struggle to get straight. But the law of human gravity kept him overthrown, because he was always of the minority—opposed in race or feeling to those who owned the machinery of recognition.

The hipster began his inevitable quest for self-definition by sulking in a kind of inchoate delinquency. But this delinquency was merely a negative expression of his needs, and, since it led only into the waiting arms of the ubiquitous law, he was finally forced to formalize his resentment and express it symbolically. This was the birth of a philosophy—a philosophy of somewhereness called jive, from jibe: to agree or harmonize. By discharging his would-be aggressions symbolically, the hipster harmonized or reconciled himself with society.

Source: Partisan Review (June 1948).

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“Dynamic Symmetry” Student notes and drawings

Category : Arts, Design, Students

Source: New School Archives (1926)


Allan Kaprow, “The Legacy of Jackson Pollock” (1958)

Category : Arts, Students

The tragic news of Pollock’s death two summers ago was profoundly depressing to many of us. We felt not only a sadness over the death of a great figure, but also a deep loss, as if something of ourselves had died too. We were a piece of him: he was, perhaps, the embodiment of our ambition for absolute liberation and a secretly cherished with to overturn old tables of crockery and flat champagne. We saw in his example the possibility of an astounding freshness, a sort of ecstatic blindness.

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Gerda Lerner, “Placing Women in History: Definitions and Challenges”

Category : History, Students, Women

In the brief span of five years in which American historians have begun to develop women’s history as an independent field, they have sought to find a conceptual framework and a methodology appropriate to the task. The first level at which historians, trained in traditional history, approach women’s history is by writing the history of “women worthies” or “compensatory history.” Who are the women missing from history? Who are the women of achievement and what did they achieve? The resulting history of “notable women” does not tell us much about those activities in which most women engaged, nor does it tell us about the significance of women’s activities to society as a whole.

Source: The Majority Finds its Past (1981)

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Gerda Lerner, “Woman as Slave”

Category : History, Students, Women

Historical sources on the origins of slavery of slavery are sparse, speculative and difficult to evaluate. Slavery seldom, if ever, occurs in hunting/gathering societies but appears in widely separated regions and periods with the advent of pastoralism, and later agriculture, urbanization, and state formation. Most authorities have concluded that slavery derives from war and conquest. The sources of slavery commonly cited are: capture in warfare; punishment for a crime; sale by family members; self-sale for debt and debt bondage. Slavery is the first institutionalized form of hierarchical dominance in human history; it is connected to the establishment of a market economy, hierarchies, and the state. However oppressive and brutal it undoubtedly was for those victimized by it, it represented an essential advance in the process of economic organization, an advance upon which the development of ancient civilization rested. Thus, we can justifiably speak of  “the invention of slavery” as a crucial watershed for humanity.

Source: The Creation of Patriarchy (1986)

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Gerda Lerner, “Living in translation”

Category : History, Students, Women

When I came to the United States in 1939 as a refugee from Hitler fascism, I had, like all refugees, a very problematic relationship with the English language. On the one hand, I wanted desperately to learn English and to speak it well. This was my meal ticket, absolutely essential if I was to get work. On the other hand I felt a responsibility to uphold, treasure and keep intact the integrity of the German language which fascism had stolen from me, as it had stolen all my worldly possessions. The Nazis spoke a language of their own – first a jargon of slogans and buzz words; later the language of force and tyranny. Words no longer meant what they said; they meant what the Nazis intended them to mean, and so, gradually, they became empty of meaning. Like banners flapping forever in the wind, they flapped around the skeleton of German speech until all that could be heard was the clattering words pretending to meaning they could not encompass. Seen in that light, it was the obligation of every antifascist German-speaking refuge to uphold the old language, so that some day it might be restored.

Source: Why History Matters (1997)

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Maurice Natanson, “Alfred Schutz: Philosopher and Social Scientist”

Aron Gurwitsch’s critique of Schutz’s essay “The Stranger” is the starting point for this consideration of Schutz’s relationship with phenomenology. This relationship is based on Schutz’s emphasis on the value of the “average” as a phenomenological structure. In opposing sociology to philosophy, Gurwitsch takes this value as inferior in comparison with what he sees as cardinal issues of transcendental phenomenology. What Gurwitsch finds incompatible with phenomenological inquiry the idea and practice of the natural attitude within the social sphere Schutz turns into the core of his philosophy. “The phenomenology of the natural attitude” is as essentially philosophical as any reflectively practiced human science. The problem of how everydayness is constituted requires a phenomenological insight that leads the explorer through reconstructing the meaning in terms of the mundane – straight to the origin.

Source: Human Studies 21.1 (Jan 1998): 1-12

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Mario Puzo, “The Last Don”

Category : Students, Writing

A week after the death of Athena’s violent, vengeful ex-husband, Boz Skannet. Cross De Lena received a dinner invitation to Athena Aquitane’s house in Malibu through his sister Claudia.
Cross flew from Vegas to Los Angeles, rented a car, and arrived at the Malibu Colony guarded gatehouse as the sun began to fall into the ocean. There was no longer any special security, as there had been when Boz was threatening Athena’s life, though there was still the secretary in the guest house who checked and buzzed him in. He walked through the longitudinal garden to the house on the beach. There was still the little South American maid, who led him to the sea green living room that seemed just out of reach of the Pacific Ocean waves.

Source:  Cosmopolitan (Nov 1996): 260-268

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Rod Steiger, “Won Oscar as bigoted sheriff in ‘Heat of the Night’ ”

Category : Arts, Students, Theater

Of all the Method actors who evolved from the Actors Studio and its tentacles, Rod Steiger, who died on July 9th aged 77, was arguably the most intense. “It encompasses anything that gets you involved personally in a part so that you can communicate in human terms with the audience.”

Source:  The Irish Times (13 July 2002): 14

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McKay Tee, “Education on a Shoestring”

Category : Education, Students

Late in the year 1898, it became necessary to take mother out of the rigorous Wisconsin winter to Colorado Springs, where I had two married sisters living. Father who was a physician felt that he could locate and build up a practice there, while Mother received the benefit of her older daughter’s care and more sunshine.

Source: Recollections of Student at Parsons, New School Archives (1920)

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