Thursday, August 12, 2004

SAVE THE DATE. Coming up this fall at Columbia University, an important conference on Randolph Bourne. See preliminary description below and information about the disability studies perspectives that the organizers are bringing to this event. The University Seminar in Disability Studies (at Columbia University) is working with the organizers on some of this, and the daylong event will serve as our October seminar (Please note, we will NOT have a seminar on October 6, as originally planned). Information to follow on registration etc.

RANDOLPH BOURNE'S AMERICA: A SYMPOSIUM SPONSORED BY COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY (THE AMERICAN STUDIES PROGRAM, THE NATIONAL ARTS JOURNALISM PROGRAM) AND PEN.

Columbia University, October 11, 2004

The American Studies Program and the National Arts Journalism Program (School of Journalism), in collaboration with CU250/Provost's Office are hosting a conference and exhibit about Randolph Bourne - his life and times and the implications of his ideas for our moment. The setting for the conferencewhich has been secured for the full day and early evening of Oct. 11, 2004is Low Library rotunda, the heart of the Columbia campus since Bourne's time. It will explore Bourne's intellectual legacy as a pioneering writer on issues of war and peace, conformity and dissent, the experience of disability and the evolution of a multicultural American identity. The day of talks and panels will, introduced by leading historian and CU Provost Alan Brinkley, will also tell the basic story of Bournes fascinating life as a man who grew up a person of short stature and hunchbacked ( a botched delivery also left his face disfigured} and became one of the most gifted, if insufficiently recognized, writers America has produced. Born in Bloomfield, NJ, a gifted pianist who made his way through Columbia working in piano roll factories, he died in the flu epidemic of 1918, at 32, yet the influence of his lyrical, astute writing remains a persistent thread through the traditions of American radicalism.

Bourne wrote a ground-breaking essay called, "The Handicapped, By One Of Them." Disability studies scholar Paul Longmore, professor at San Francisco State, consider him a father of their field. Longmore has confirmed that he will take part in the conference. We also expect Paul S. Miller, a long-serving commissioner of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, advisor on disability policy in the Clinton White House. Simi Linton, a co-director of Columbias University Seminar on Disability Studies, is also helping to shape the event. Parts of "The Body of Bourne," a play by John Belluso, which we have obtained Belluso's permission to use, will be woven into the day. An exhibit of the Bourne papers in Butler library will open with a reception after the conference.

Simi Linton simi4@yahoo.com 212 580 9280 (phone and fax)