When Mark Larrimore and I first began discussing teaching a course on the history of the New School, it was clear that a central task would be posing the myths of the school against its realities. Some of the myths relate to actual events, such as the remarkable effort to save and host scholars fleeing fascism in Europe in the 1930s. But many of them are more mythology than fact–and James Baldwin taking a class at the New School is one of the most enduring. In this essay, I explore how that myth informs much of the New School’s struggle to fully tackle racism and discrimination.
Public Seminar, the online “intellectual commons” of The New School, is afire these days, with commentary on daily headlines as well as beyond them. Recently, Claire Potter, one of the editors, posed an intriguing prompt: how does your world look, one year after Trump’s election? My response here.
(Anti-Trump sticker on 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge. © Jack Szwergold | Flickr)