Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Prehistories

Had a fascinating chat today with someone who was here before there was a Lang college - a student at the Seminar College onto which ELC was grafted. A rather different place - tiny, truly interdisciplinary, quite ideological but clearly really intellectual - and not too happy to be turned into something else. I knew a bit about it before (it had been a four-year college since 1977), but hearing someone - not least someone who's my near contemporary - describe his time there makes it real in a whole new way. This Village Voice ad shows the lay of the land in 1978.
As a bonus for my efforts to recall a prehistory which has fallen out of the official stories, he gave me an account of the prehistory of The New School as a whole which I hadn't heard before: Columbia professors teaching adults somewhere on the Upper West Side until WW1 led some of them to break with Columbia and move downtown and start The New School. Before WW1? Didn't it all start because of the WW1-related rupture of Beard and Robinson with Columbia? But it can't have been that simple. There must have been plans afoot before that. Memory of that might still have been available in 1981...

1 comment:

Ian said...

I'd always heard that the beginnings of the New School were an offshoot of the fallout at Columbia over the Loyalty Oath that was required of faculty members in 1917. Those who refused the oath either resigned or were fired, and several of them came together to form the New School.