the columbia university seminar on
THE FACULTY'S SIXTIES: PROFESSORS AND POLITICS, 1960-75
A talk by Ellen Schrecker
March 31, 2015
Columbia University Faculty House (directions)
Abstract: The “long
sixties” from 1960 to 1975 politicized American campuses and their faculties in
ways that resonate to this day. The combination of the student unrest
precipitated by the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements and the Vietnam war and the structural challenges brought about by
the massive demographic expansion of American higher education pulled the
otherwise quiescent majority of American professors into unwanted
confrontations. Some academics were already active – providing legitimacy
and expertise to the peace movement or exploring new and ostensibly more
relevant fields of knowledge. Others turned against the turmoil, their arguments
supplying decades of ammunition for the conservative critique of higher
education. Surprisingly, despite all the scholarly attention paid to the
campuses of the sixties, my present project, from which this paper is drawn, is
the first overview of the many ways in which the sixties affected and were
affected by faculty members qua faculty members.
Ellen Schrecker is Professor of History Emerita at Yeshiva University. Her publications on McCarthyism and academic freedom include Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (1998), The Age of McCarthyism: A Short History with Documents (1994, rev. ed. 2002), No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities (1986), and The Lost Soul of Higher Education: Corporatization, the Assault on Academic Freedom and the End of the University (2010). Her current project examines faculties and politics in the 1960s and early 1970s.
An optional dinner follows the talk. We will dine in Faculty House at 6:30 pm. Meals, buffet style, cost $25 (pay by check only). Please RSVP for dinner to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no need to register for the talk alone.