In Tomorrow-Land:The 1964-65 World’s Fair and the Transformation of America, Joseph Tirellla,Lehman College’s associate director of public relations, celebrates the fair’s 50th anniversary, writing of its turbulent background, Robert Moses’ role in its creation, and the fair’s subsequent financial failure. Juxtaposed against the country’s civil rights movement and the social, political and cultural changes of the time, Tirella helps us understand the appeal of the fair and why its theme, “Peace through Understanding” was so useful to the United States’ position as a world leader during the Cold War era.
The tendency of the rate of return on capital to exceed the growth rate under modern capitalism is “a very strong force pushing toward potentially very large inequalities in wealth,” argues economist Thomas Piketty, author of the best-selling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Speaking at The CUNY Graduate Center, Piketty says “inequalities may return to, or be even higher than, 19th-century levels.” But that isn’t inevitable. “A proper progressive tax on net wealth” argues Piketty, “can be a way to try to increase wealth mobility and to make this vast quantity of wealth, which is in itself a good thing, more equally distributed.”
Stereotypes of Italian Americans in literature remain problematic argues Anthony Tamburri, author of Re-reading Italian Americana: Specificities and Generalities on Literature and Criticism and dean of CUNY’s John D. Calandra Italian American Institute. “We are still at a point in regard to the critical voice where we can’t afford to play to the stereotype,” says Tamburri.
Since entering the White House, Barack Obama has been battered by criticism from both sides. In Out of Many, One: Obama and the Third American Political Tradition, Ruth O’Brien, a political science professor at The CUNY Graduate Center, explains how Obama’s leadership style, more statesman than politician, is partly to blame and argues that he represents the values of a lesser-known third tradition in American political thought that defies the usual left-right categorization.
In his final report to the University community, Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly discusses a new initiative responding to Mayor de Blasio efforts to position education as a cornerstone of his master plan for the city’s future. ‘Educating a Competitive Workforce for the 21st Century’ will “ensure that CUNY students and graduates are well-equipped to compete in the changing economy or STEM-related professions,” says Kelly. To achieve these goals, the initiative recommends support for additional faculty, a significant enhancement in academic and career counseling services, and the expansions of the very successful CUNY START and ASAP programs.
Public meeting of the Board of Trustees, May 05, 2014.
Fifty years ago, philosopher Hannah Arendt set off a firestorm with a series for The New Yorker, “Eichmann: An Report on the Banality of Evil,” calling him not a “monster” but a “clown.” In a lecture, Richard Wolin, Distinguished Professor of history at the Graduate Center, uses Arendt’s own language to counter her hypothesis. “If the Holocaust was evil then it was not banal, and if it was banal then it was not evil.” Wolin was joined by Jeffrey Herf, professor of history from the University of Maryland and author of “The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust.”
For the month of March, Hunter College’s men’s volleyball sophomore Alexandru Barbulescu has been named the CUNYAC/ Hospital for Special Surgery Scholar-Athlete of the Month. This is the first time the sophomore has won the accolade.
Interim Chancellor William Kelly engages two of the University’s most distinctive stylists on the art and craft of teaching writing, Andre Aciman of the Graduate Center and the author of seven books, and Colum McCann of Hunter College, the 2009 National Book Award winner for his novel, Let The Great World Spin. Recalling his youth in Ireland, McCann jokes it was an uninspiring one. “No stories to tell — the worst thing for a novelist — I had a happy childhood,” and Aciman discusses the rewards of teaching at a public institution. “There’s no arrogance, no sense of entitlement — everybody wants to succeed.”
Standing committee meeting of the Board of Trustees, Committee on Academic, Policy, Program, and Research, April 7, 2014.