Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: "Many Columbias" : remembering the New Left
Author: Sweeting, Theodore Patrick Abraham
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
In narratives of the New Left, a number of key events and ideas are often used as symbols for broader movement trends. The Columbia University protests of the spring and summer of 1968 are one such example. Many Columbias examines a variety of autobiographical writings by one-time New leftists, using the protests as a thematic nexus. It examines how the texts coalesce to form a composite narrative of the protests, written by a group of autobiographers involved in the discursive process of creating cultural memories. The first chapter examines the Columbia protests as a broad coalition that brought together seemingly disparate groups into a moment that encapsulated many of the oppositional political trends of the late 19605. The protests were immediately mythologized by a variety of different presses, a process explored in Chapter Two. This examines how they were mapped in different journalistic contexts, including New Journalism, the underground press, and the mainstream press. Subsequently, the Columbia protests have become entrenched within dominant readings of the New Left and the American "1968". Such narratives often t race the rise and fall of SDS as a synecdoche for the New left and, in this way, Columbia is seen to precipitate the emergence of Weather Underground and the destruction of SDS. Accordingly, the events have been read primarily through the memories a few key Columbia SDS leaders who helped found the Weather Underground. Such narratives are explored in Chapter Three, which contextualises a group of participant histories and memoirs written in the 1980s via the Cold War and culture wars. Participants have subsequently been involved in a process of reinstating the idea of Columbia's political and racial diversity. Chapter Four examines how the protests were remapped around the fortieth anniversary in 2008, and how participants helped to complicate an SDS-centric reading of the events, as they were reclaimed by, and for, marginalised groups, particularly African American participants. Exploring similar t hemes, Chapter Five deliberately forgoes chronology to examine the personal relationship between Mark Rudd and Jane Alpert, as represented in a variety of autobiographical texts, which sheds light on how gender affects the memory of Columbia, the New Left and feminism. Primarily concerned with autobiography, memoir and participant history, this thesis contextualises these genres with a number of other cultural forms, including archival material, academic histories of the New left and of the 1960s, cinema, political-essay and journalism, and the reunion as cultural phenomenon, in order to build a rich historiography of the protests that investigates layers of their representation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available