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Participatory Democracy in America's Long New Left


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Speaker(s): Professor Linda Gordon

Recorded on 22 October 2012 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

Most writing about the American New Left mistakenly refers only to the white student-intellectual movement that coalesced on campuses in the 1960s. This lecture treats the “long New Left,” from civil rights through the white student movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement, the women's liberation movement and the gay liberation movement, taking in also the environmentalism that continued throughout. Within that capacious movement, two related themes dominated: participatory democracy and prefigurative politics—impractical, utopian objectives, yes, but also principles that derive from and continue the core democratic socialist aspirations.'

Linda Gordon is University Professor of the Humanities and Florence Kelley Professor of History, New York University. Her research and writings encompass Russian history, the historical roots of contemporary social policy debates in the US, particularly as they concern gender and family issues, and the work of photographer Dorothy Lange. She has won many awards including Guggenheim, NEH, ACLS, Radcliffe Institute and the New York Public Library¹s Cullman Center fellowships. Her publications include Woman's Body, Woman's Right: The History of Birth Control in America (1976, revised and re-published as The Moral Property of Women in 2002), Heroes of Their Own Lives: The History and Politics of Family Violence (1988), Pitied But Not Entitled: Single Mothers and the History of Welfare (1994), The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction (1999), and Impounded: Dorothea Lange and Japanese Americans in World War II (2006).

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