Sunday, June 03, 2018

History of a school for social research

The coming year is a big one for New School history. Not just for The New School, which celebrates its centenary in 2019, but for my friend J and me, who have been the go-to people on the school's history for many years, and will have new opportunities to share what we've found. We'll be teaching a graduate course in Historical Studies in the Fall, and putting together a series of online presentations on interesting aspects of The New School - perhaps with podcasts! (We received a Provost's Office Innovations in Education Grant for the latter.)

Most excitingly, we'll be editing a "vertical" in the New School-based online journal Public Seminar on "New School Histories," which will involve writing or commissioning at least forty shortish articles over a year-and-a-half long period. This is most exciting because it's likely to reach the most people, and because the Public Seminar context (its modest brief: "Confronting Fundamental Problem of the Human Condition and Pressing Problems of the Day") invites us at every point to show the broader significance of local histories. Because we're not part of the official Marketing and Development-led festivities, we're free to be intellectual about New School's complicated legacies, telling difficult as well as pleasing stories - indeed telling multiple conflicting stories rather than one. We'll raise critical, future-oriented questions about our history, and through them about the ideals The New School and its family of institutions have sought to embody.

Not on our agenda: how we spent a century being "new"!

Image from a book I picked up in Bloomington:

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