Conference 2008

Thursday, April 24

7:00 p.m. Opening reception Sponsored by the Charles H. Revson Fellowship Program (Casa Italiana, 117th and Amsterdam)


Nancy Biberman, Barnard '69, President Women's Housing and Economic Development Corp.

Lee Bollinger, President, Columbia University

8:00 pm Columbia 1968 and the World A look at what was going on in the nation and the world in 1968, from the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. to the abdication of Lyndon Johnson, from the Tet Offensive in Vietnam to Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia, from the Eugene McCarthy campaign to the tumultuous Democratic Party convention in Chicago. It was a truly remarkable year.

  • Tom Hayden, activist, principal author of the Port Huron Statement, former California legislator
  • Mark Kurlansky, writer and author of "1968: The Year that Rocked the World."
  • William Sales, Member Hamilton Hall Steering Committee, Associate Professor, Africana and Diaspora Studies, Seton Hall University
  • Victoria de Grazia, Professor of History and Director of the Institute for the Study of Europe, Columbia University

Moderator: Robert Friedman, Columbia '69, journalist and former Editor of the Columbia Daily Spectator

Friday, April 25

10:00 am From Vietnam to Iraq Forty years of U.S. intervention. What, if anything, have we learned?

Michael Klare, author and Five Colleges Professor of Peace and World Securities Studies, Hampshire College.

Callie Maidof, Columbia anthropology graduate student, anti-war activist

Tom Engelhardt, writer for Nation Institute's, author


12:00 pm Feminist Legacies of 1968 A moderated discussion with women who were at Barnard and Columbia in 1968 and played important roles in the rise of the feminist movement. Sponsored by the Institute on Research on Women & Gender (501 Schermerhorn)

  • Ti-Grace Atkinson, feminist activist and author
  • Rosalyn Baxandall, Chair of American Studies and Distinguished Teaching Professor, SUNY College at Old Westbury.
  • Elizabeth Diggs, Head of Playwriting and Associate Professor of Dramatic Writing, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
  • Christine Clark-Evans, Associate Professor of French, Penn State University
  • Grace (Linda) LeClair, co-founder Calvert Social Investment fund and Executive Director NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire
  • Sharon Olds, poet, creative writing instructor New York University
  • Catharine Stimpson, University Professor and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, New York University

Moderator: Louise Yelin, Kempner Distinguished Professor of Literature, Purchase College

2:00 pm Political Action and Official Response State and university officials regularly act to direct, limit, or oppose political activities by those under their authority. Their actions may range from providing opportunities for political expression and preventing unlawful conduct, to surveillance, harassment, prosecution, and violence. This session will explore the range of official responses to political activism in the late 1960s and today. Sponsored by the Columbia Law School Center for the Study of Law and Culture.

  • Lee Bollinger, President, Columbia University
  • Raymond Brown, criminal defense attorney and member of Hamilton Hall Steering Committee, 1968
  • Samuel Gross, Columbia '68, Thomas and Mabel Long Professor of Law, University of Michigan
  • Gustin Reichbach, Columbia Law School '70, New York State Supreme Court Justice
  • Kendall Thomas, Nash Professor of Law, Columbia University

4:00 pm Race at Columbia, Then and Now Forty years of struggle at Columbia, from opposing the gym in Morningside Park to demanding ethnic studies; from the anti-apartheid divestment campaign to hunger strikes. What are the common threads among the critiques made by people of color at Columbia? Is the campus still fragmented along color lines? Are the interventions of yesterday still viable today?

  • Thulani Davis, writer, Barnard '70
  • Arnim Johnson, attorney, Columbia College '71
  • Manning Marable, Professor of Public Affairs, Political Science, and History, Columbia University
  • Johanna Ocana, Lucha, Columbia College student
  • Claytoya Tugwell, Black Student Organization, Columbia College '10
  • Sudhir Venkatesh, Professor of Sociology, Columbia University, Director of the Center for Urban Research and Policy, Director of the Charles H. Revson Fellowship Program

8:00 pm What Happened? A large-scale, multi-media narrative of the events at Columbia in the spring of 1968 told by witnesses and participants on as many sides, and from as many points of view, as possible. Including, among others:

  • Nancy Biberman
  • Raymond Brown
  • Thulani Davis
  • Al Dempsey
  • Leon Denmark
  • Larry Frazier
  • Robert Friedman
  • Stuart Gedal
  • Juan Gonzalez
  • Tom Hurwitz
  • Michelle Patrick
  • Mark Rudd
  • (Columbia Law School, Room 104-106)

Saturday, April 26

10:00 am - 6:00 pm Screening Room Continuous screenings of Columbia 1968 films (Lifetime Screening Room, Dodge Hall, 4th floor).

10:00 am and 4:00 pm "Columbia Revolt," Newsreel

11:00 am and 5:00 pm "Vala" Produced by Sherry Suttles, Barnard '69, directed by Kamau Suttles.

12:30 pm "Time to Stir" A work in progress by Paul Cronin

3:00 pm "Remembering 1968" By Edward Jahn

10:00 am The Legacy of the Student Movement Forty years later, a battle is still being waged about how the events of 1968 are remembered. Did the student protests wreck Columbia or make the university a stronger institution? Did they lead to the election of Richard Nixon or help end the Vietnam War and inaugurate an era of profound social and cultural change?

  • Lewis Cole, Member Strike Coordinating Committee, Professor of Film, Columbia University.
  • Todd Gitlin, Professor of Journalism and Sociology, Columbia University, and former president Students for a Democratic Society
  • Maurice Isserman, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History, Hamilton College, and author of "America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s."
  • Stefan Bradley, Assistant Professor of History, St. Louis University
  • John McMillian, lecturer in history and literature, Harvard University
  • Frances Fox Piven, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology, City University of New York

Moderator: Juan Gonzalez, author and columnist, New York Daily News

12:00 pm Lunch For those who took part in the occupation of Hamilton Hall, their families, and friends. Plus other lunches for other groups.

2:00 pm Ethics and Protest The ethics of protest movements, including those in universities. What is the responsibility of the citizen when the state breaks laws that have been enacted for the protection of its citizens? What are the moral and strategic limits of violence.

Akeel Bilgrami, Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University


  • Fred Block, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Davis
  • Jamal Joseph, Acting Chair, School of the Arts Film Division, Columbia University
  • Karl Klare, Matthews Distinguished University Professor, Northeastern University
  • Mark Rudd, activist and president Columbia SDS, 1968
  • Eleanor Stein, Adjunct Professor, Albany Law School
  • Winnie Varghese, Episcopal Chaplain, Columbia University

Moderator: Frederick Neuhouser, Viola Manderfeld Professor of German & Professor of Philosophy, Barnard College

4:00 pm Organizing, Activism, Engagement - Then and Now An intergenerational dialogue between current student activists and veterans of 1968.

8:00 pm Voices of 1968 Writers who were at Columbia read their work from and about 1968. (Altschul Auditorium, School of International Affairs, 118th St. and Amsterdam Ave.)

Paul Auster, Thulani Davis, Mary Gordon, Bob Holman, James Kunen, Hilton Obenzinger, Sharon Olds, Jonah Raskin, Kathy Seal, Ntozake Shange, David Shapiro, Paul Spike, Meredith Sue Willis

10:00 pm Live music and dancing Havana Central, aka The West End, with The Druids of Stonehenge (Woody Lewis, Billy Cross, Billy Tracy, Tom Workman, Roger Kahn, Carl Hauser, and David Budge)

Sunday, April 27

11:00 am Memorial A remembrance of those no longer with us (Earl Hall)

12:00 pm Telling Our Stories Open mike for veterans of 1968 to talk about their lives since then and lessons learned (Earl Hall)


2:00 pm Picnic lunch In Morningside Park, with ceremony commemorating the halting of gym construction 40 years ago. Sponsored by Friends of Morningside Park.


  • Adrian Benepe, New York City Parks Commissioner
  • Thomas Hoving, former New York City Parks Commissioner
  • Suki Ports, community activist
  • Samuel White, Hamilton Hall and longtime Harlem resident

Columbia 68-08 Committee: Nancy Biberman, Thulani Davis, Robert Friedman, Tom Hurwitz, Hilton Obenzinger, Laura Pinsky

Audio recording by Barbara Bernstein; video recording by Nick Hurwitz

The organizers would like to thank Columbia University and the Journalism School for making their facilities available for this conference.

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