A Conference at Columbia University

April 27-29, 2018

This conference culminates a semester of activities related to the 50th anniversary of 1968 that include courses in multiple departments, a speaker and film series, and an exhibition in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Sponsored by the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Lehman Center for American History, the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, the Department of History, and the Office of the Provost. 

For a full schedule of events, click here

From Inferno to Metamorphosis: Building a Movement to End Mass Punishment

On April 12, 2018, Yale University School of Law professor James Forman, Jr. delivered the first Robert A. Ferguson Memorial Lecture. Professor Forman is the author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, and is a leading critic of mass incarceration. 

This event was presented by the Center for American Studies with support from the Jack Miller Center.

Joseph D. Jamail Lecture Hall, School of Journalism   

April 19, 7-9 pm

A discussion with NPR's Robert Siegel '68. For 30 years, Siegel co-hosted the popular NPR radio show, All Things Considered. He got his start at WKCR, where he covered the student strike of 1968 and attributes his successful career to the important events he covered during his college years.

Book Event

Heyman Center for the Humanities, Second Floor Common Room

April 19, 2018  6:15 pm

In Tough Enough, Deborah Nelson discusses Simone Weil, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Diane Arbus, and Joan Didion -- six exceptional women with a shared understanding of suffering and sentimentality. From the University of Chicago Press description:

Tough Enough traces the careers of these women and their challenges to the pre-eminence of empathy as the ethical posture from which to examine pain. Their writing and art reveal an adamant belief that the hurts of the world must be treated concretely, directly, and realistically, without recourse to either melodrama or callousness. As Deborah Nelson shows, this stance offers an important counter-tradition to the familiar postwar poles of emotional expressivity on the one hand and cool irony on the other. Ultimately, in its insistence on facing reality without consolation or compensation, this austere “school of the unsentimental” offers new ways to approach suffering in both its spectacular forms and all of its ordinariness.

This event is free and open to the public; no registration needed.

On March 21, 2018, the Teagle Foundation announced that Andrew Delbanco will serve as the foundation's next president. The Teagle Foundation supports liberal education, with emphases on quality teaching and accessibility. As quoted by Inside Higher Ed, Professor Delbanco seeks "to continue and deepen Teagle's support of people and programs committed to bringing the gift of liberal education to all students -- not just the privileged few." 

Andrew Delbanco is the Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Professor Delbanco the National Humanities Medal for his work on higher education and the role of classics in contemporary life.


Columbia Law School Room 103

April 12, 2018 6:00pm

Yale University School of Law professor James Forman, Jr. will deliver the first Robert A. Ferguson Memorial Lecture. Professor Forman is the author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, and is a leading critic of mass incarceration. 

This event is presented by the Center for American Studies with support from the Jack Miller Center.


Tuesday, April 10, 2:00pm

Butler Library, Room 522

The Heyman Center Public Humanities Initiative envisions ways for scholars to interact with and facilitate access to humanities scholarship for a larger public outside of academia. Freedom & Citizenship's Associate Director Jessica Lee will present one of three pilot projects focusing on the impact of scholarship on civic life and society. 

Dr. Lee's pilot program is a collaboration between the Center for American Studies and the Double Discovery Center. Its goal is to provide an introduction to the humanities and civic engagement to young New Yorkers. While Freedom & Citizenship works with high school seniors who have demonstrated a long-term commitment to academics and civics, the pilot program will target middle school students to instill interest in the humanities, college education, and civic engagement before they enter high school. Called "Socrates to Snapchat" the program has students examining challenging civic problems across time and space during four days of educational programming. Alumni of F&C will serve as teachers and teaching assistants. Any F&C alumni interested in working with Socrates to Snapchat should contact Dr. Lee directly. 

All are welcome to attend the symposium, please RSVP here. 

Panel Discussion

Heyman Center for the Humanities

March 27, 2018 6:15pm 

Between the 1890s and the Vietnam era, many thousands of American Protestant missionaries were sent to live throughout the non-European world. They expected to change the people they encountered, but those foreign people ended up transforming the missionaries. Their experience abroad made many of these missionaries and their children critical of racism, imperialism, and religious orthodoxy. When they returned home, they brought new liberal values back to their own society. Protestants Abroad reveals the untold story of how these missionary-connected individuals left an enduring mark on American public life as writers, diplomats, academics, church officials, publishers, foundation executives, and social activists.

David A. Hollinger provides riveting portraits of such figures as Pearl Buck, John Hersey, and Life and Time publisher Henry Luce, former "mish kids" who strove through literature and journalism to convince white Americans of the humanity of other peoples. Hollinger describes how the U.S. government's need for citizens with language skills and direct experience in Asian societies catapulted dozens of missionary-connected individuals into prominent roles in intelligence and diplomacy. Meanwhile, Edwin Reischauer and other scholars with missionary backgrounds led the growth of Foreign Area Studies in universities during the Cold War. The missionary contingent advocated multiculturalism and anticolonialism, pushed their churches in ecumenical and social-activist directions, and joined with Jewish intellectuals to challenge traditional Protestant cultural hegemony and promote a pluralist vision of American life. Missionary cosmopolitans were the Anglo-Protestant counterparts of the New York Jewish intelligentsia of the same era.

Protestants Abroad reveals the crucial role that missionary-connected American Protestants played in the development of modern American liberalism, and how they helped other Americans reimagine their nation's place in the world.

David A. Hollinger is the Preston Hotchkis Professor of American History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Protestant Liberalism in Modern American History and Science, Jews, and Secular Culture: Studies in Mid-Twentieth-Century American Intellectual History (both Princeton).


David A. Hollinger

Susan Pedersen

Wayne Proudfoot

Casey N. Blake (moderator)


Tuesday, March 27th, 6:15

Heyman Center for the Humanities

Second floor, Common Room

This event is free and open to the public, no registration required.


In 1943 and 1944 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the military orders that forced over 120,000 Japanese Americans into American prison camps during World War II. It took almost 40 years to overturn the convictions of Fred Korematsu and others who violated the orders with the "smoking gun" evidence of governmental misconduct. 

On March 22, 2018 the Center for American Studies will host a panel titled "Korematsu v. United States: The History and Legacy of the WWII Japanese American Incarceration Cases." American Studies faculty member Michael Hindus will moderate a discussion with Professor Peter Irons, the leader of Fred Korematsu's 1983 legal team, and Karen Korematsu, daughter of Fred Korematsu and founder of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute.

The panel discussion will take place in room 523 of Butler Library at 6:15pm on March 22, 2018.

The event is hosted by the Center for American Studies with support by the Jack Miller Center. 

Sam Reider, CC'11, featured in Columbia College Today.

From grungy American dives to a State-Department-sponsored tour of Southeast Asia -- Sam Reider describes his journey as an American music ambassador and the accordion that altered his life's trajectory.

In an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Roosevelt Montás argues America's colleges have a responsibility to bolster America's liberal democracy by educating its students as citizens. Read his editorial to see why this matters so much and what is preventing colleges from taking up this cause. 

Today, low-income high school students are less like to apply to and enroll in colleges than they were ten years ago, despite huge increases in available financial aid. Studies show that college mentoring can significantly improve students' submissions and enrollment rates. The problem is that most low-income high students in New York City attend schools that have one guidance counselor for every 500 students.

The Freedom & Citizenship program at the Center for American Studies is seeking mentors for its high school class of 2018. Mentors do not need to be experts in college enrollment--just dedicated to their students. If you have up to four hours a week to spend with a student from September through December you have what it takes to be a college mentor. See Freedom & Citizenship's volunteer page for more information and an application form.

Deadline for volunteer applications is September 14.


American Studies board of visitors member Alan Robert Ginsberg was recently selected as the recipient of the Special Jury Prize of the Richard Wall Memorial Award by the Theatre Library Association. His award-winning book, The Salome Ensemble: Rose Pastor Stokes, Anzia Yezierska, Sonya Levine, and Jetta Goudal, was published with Syracuse University Press in 2016 and named a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in that year.

The Theatre Library Association was founded in 1937 to support the preservation and accessibility of archival resources of the performing arts including theatre, dance, popular entertainment, broadcasting, and motion pictures. Each year the TLA awards book prizes for exemplary work: the George Freedley Memorial Award for work on theatre or live performance and the Richard Wall Memorial Award for recorded performances.

Alan Ginsberg's book uniquely weaves together the stories of four women who inspired, wrote, and performed the story Salome of the Tenements, a 1922 novel that was later developed into a film. 

The Theatre Library Association will host an awards gala in the Café of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts on Friday October 13. 

On Wednesday, June 28th at 6:30pm, American Studies Board of Visitors member Alan Ginsberg will discuss his book, The Salome Ensemble: Rose Pastor Stokes, Anzia Yezeirska, Sonya Levine, and Jetta Gould at the New York Public Library. 

Shaun Abreu, a participant in the inaugural Freedom and Citizenship program of 2009, wrote an op-ed for Inside Higher Ed with Upward Bound counselor Amber Moorer and Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-NY). Their essay defends the Upward Bound programs that President Trump's proposed budget would underfund through major cuts to TRIO spending. Freedom and Citizenship students benefit from the college counseling they receive through the Double Discovery Center's programming, including Talent Search and Upward Bound.