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Interview with Dr. Ellen Schrecker

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Contributor

Schrecker, Ellen ; McKiernan, Stephen

Description

Dr. Ellen Schrecker is a scholar, professor emerita of American History at Yeshiva University and has received a fellowship at the Tamiment library in NYU. In addition, she is considered a leading expert on McCarthyism and has taught at various prestigious universities including Princeton, New York University, and Columbia.

Date

2011-05-19

Rights

In copyright

Date Modified

2018-03-29

Is Part Of

McKiernan Interviews

Extent

217:19

Transcription

McKiernan Interviews
Interview with: Ellen Schrecker
Interviewed by: Stephen McKiernan
Transcriber: REV
Date of interview: 19 May 2011
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(Start of Interview)

SM (00:00:04):
Testing, one, two, test. All right. I will be checking it. All set?

ES (00:00:10):
Sure.

SM (00:00:10):
Okay. First off, thanks again for being a part of the project. I have been-been bound in this project now for a long time, starting part-time in (19)96, and kind of finishing up full-time now. And I left the university to work on this for the last two years. One of the first questions I would like to ask is... to each of my interviewees is, how did you become who you are? And now, you are a great historian. There are certain issues that you would like to write about, not only as a scholar, but as a teacher. And what was your growing up years like? How did you become who you are? Your parents? Your high school years, or...

ES (00:00:51):
Well, I grew up, actually, outside Philadelphia. My parents were during the 1950s, during the McCarthy period. My parents were liberal democrats. They were not left-wingers. They were not in the party or anything like that. I have often been accused of being a red diaper baby, but I am not. And as a teenager, I can recall watching Army- McCarthy hearings, all that kind of stuff, knowing that this was bad stuff, but not knowing very much about it at all.

SM (00:01:39):
Right.

ES (00:01:39):
In fact, you will probably be interested in this one. The guy who was on the board of trustees at Jefferson Medical School was my grandfather's law partner.

SM (00:01:54):
Oh, really?

ES (00:01:55):
Who...

SM (00:01:55):
Oh my God.

ES (00:01:55):
And he was the guy... He was the point guy for dismissing all of the three faculty members.

SM (00:02:03):
Oh my. What a small world.

ES (00:02:04):
Yes. It was a small world. And one of the things I knew as a young person was that my mother despised this man, but I never knew why, never had any idea. And then, many years later, when I started doing research [inaudible] academic community, I came across this guy and realized that... and understood why my mother was so upset. And it was very clear to me that the leadership at the administration and board trustees... that Jefferson had selected this man to handle all of this because he was Jewish. And the people that were being fired were also Jewish, very much like having Roy Cohen...

SM (00:02:59):
Oh, yes.

ES (00:02:59):
... prosecute the Rosenbergs. Anyhow... So, I grew up not knowing very much. I mean, another... Can you excuse me?

SM (00:03:11):
Okay.

ES (00:03:11):
Yeah. The other thing that I learned when I was doing, actually, my other book on McCarthyism... I did not find this...

SM (00:03:26):
Yeah, I have that here too.

ES (00:03:26):
... until somewhat later...

SM (00:03:28):
Yeah.

ES (00:03:28):
... was that my sixth-grade teacher had been fired.

SM (00:03:35):
Oh, wow.

ES (00:03:37):
... for having been in a congress. He had never come up before a committee, but the FBI had fingered him. And at that point, the school... It was not a public school. It was a private school that was being run by Temple University. And they just got rid of him.

SM (00:03:59):
As a young person though, you are just seeing these things for the first time. Your parents are one thing, but you were a young person, a child, or a teenager.

ES (00:04:12):
Yeah.

SM (00:04:13):
What were you thinking about America? And this is course post World War II America.

ES (00:04:19):
Yeah. Yeah. You know. I grew up in this sort of liberal ADA, Americans for Democratic Action, sort of... My family was in favor of Stevenson when I... My mother worked for the Democratic Party in what was a Republican suburb at that time. And the rumor was always that you had to vote Republican in order to get your garbage collected, which was not true. But anyhow... So, I grew up with a fairly, what would you say, liberal set of values, which I think I still retain.

SM (00:05:12):
Where did you go to high school?

ES (00:05:15):
I went to Chelnum High School

SM (00:05:17):
Outside Philly?

ES (00:05:18):
Outside Philadelphia.

SM (00:05:19):
Golly. I know... Colleen McHugh... It is a small world again. Colleen McHugh was the president of our Contemporary Issues Committee. She is a senior. She is in Scotland right now, is from that high school.

ES (00:05:31):
Good.

SM (00:05:32):
Colleen McHugh.

ES (00:05:33):
Sure. We had all kinds of people who went there. Benjamin Netanyahu went there after my time. Reggie Jackson went there.

SM (00:05:44):
Oh my gosh. Yeah.

ES (00:05:48):
And it was a big public high school with a wide variety of kids. It was fine. And then, I went to Radcliffe. That is where I got my undergraduate. And I stayed to get my PhD at Harvard. And I was in European diplomatic history. I got my PhD in European diplomatic history. I wrote my thesis on "The French debt to the United States after the First World War". It was really boring. I did not enjoy it. And I sort of did not want to go on in that field. And so, this is about the 19... early 1970s. I finished my degree. I really did not know what I wanted to do. I was married. I had two children. We were living in Cambridge at the time. My then husband was teaching Chinese history at Brandeis. And I got a job teaching freshman composition at Harvard. The way it worked was you did not have to be in English, but you had to be a good writer. And they assumed somehow it would rub off on the students. And you could teach your course as a kind of mini course, as almost a little seminar, as long as you assigned a lot of writing and worked on the writing. And so, I decided I would teach a course on the 1950s because I had grown up then and I was curious. So, I started teaching this course. This is the mid-(19)70s. And I discovered that there was no good book on McCarthyism that I could assign my students, nothing, sick, no scholarship, no nothing. And so, after about a year of this, I decided, well, I did not know what I wanted to do, but I was really interested in McCarthyism. And I would write a book about it. And I had already written a Chinese book, of all things...

SM (00:08:31):
Oh my God.

ES (00:08:34):
... which is another piece of my life. And I had a literary agent. And I got a fellowship from the Radcliffe, what was then called the Funding Institute at Radcliffe, for a year, to work on this project on McCarthyism. And after a little while, it became very clear to me that this was a big project and that there was another person who was writing a general book on McCarthyism. And I was sort of advised by a whole bunch of people to narrow down my topic. So, I decided. I made a choice. I realized I could either look at McCarthyism in one city or I could take an occupational group. And I decided, since I was an academic, I might as well look at the academy. And so, that is how I got into writing my first book about McCarthyism.

SM (00:09:45):
I think, if I remember correctly, there is only two books that I can recall, because I have them, are the Buckley book that you wrote on McCarthyism that was out. And then, there was one on Richard Reeves or Richard...

ES (00:10:02):
Yeah, which was Joe McCarthy himself.

SM (00:10:04):
Yeah. Big, big book. Yeah. I think Richard Veer wrote a book of...

ES (00:10:06):
He wrote a book in about 1956. And Reeves wrote a biography, and... Thomas Reeves, I think it was.

SM (00:10:15):
Thomas Reeves. Yeah, because... Right.

ES (00:10:19):
But there was not a general study. The general study that was being written at the time was by a guy named David Caute, C A U T E, who was a brit...

SM (00:10:29):
Oh yeah.

ES (00:10:30):
... who... Actually, I had been in a graduate seminar with him many years ago. And his book was... It is not bad, but it did not do what I did. And so, anyhow, I finished this book on McCarthyism and the university, mainly looking at dozens of archives of universities, interviewing a lot of people, and then decided that I would go back to my original project of looking at McCarthyism as a whole, because there still was not the kind of book that I thought should be written. And so... And by that time, I had moved to New York and had remarried, and was just... I had changed... I do not think you could do it these days. But in those days, I was able to switch from European history into American history. And at the time my McCarthy University's book came out, I was able to get a teaching job at Yeshiva in American history. And I began to work on the sort of general study of McCarthyism. I published. I do not know if you have seen this little book for classroom use.

SM (00:12:09):
No, I have not seen that.

ES (00:12:10):
Okay. Let me show you.

SM (00:12:19):
Do you feel that... What influence do you feel that McCarthyism period had on the boomer generation that was really in elementary school at the time, but subconsciously many kids were watching that on black and white TV? I know I was one of them. I did not quite understand it, but I saw that... Well, I think I have seen that, but I do not have it. Yeah. I have seen that.

ES (00:12:45):
Well, this is the one that... And in some ways, it is used. It is what people assign in their classes...

SM (00:12:55):
Oh, yes.

ES (00:12:56):
... because it is much smaller than this book.

SM (00:12:57):
Yes. Wow. There is the gentleman to his right that...

ES (00:13:04):
Yeah. And that was a lot of fun. That is just a bunch of documents with a sort of hundred-page overview.

SM (00:13:14):
Do you think that the McCarthyism had any effect on young boomers? Some I have interviewed say that they were too young, but others subconsciously were seeing this fear that was happening in America at the same time, the fear of speaking up, the fear of...

ES (00:13:34):
Yeah.

SM (00:13:35):
And they were cognizant of what was going on in the South too, if you were watching the news, about the Civil Rights movement and the courage of the Dr. Kings and others to stand up and speak.

ES (00:13:46):
Right. I mean, I think what happened was, certainly when I was growing up there, the left was completely marginalized. I mean, I just plain did not even know it existed. When I was at Radcliffe, there apparently was a socials club, but it was made up of what were called Red Diaper babies, people whose parents had been pretty much in the Communist Party. And people who were outside of that very small left-wing world did not even know it existed. And...

SM (00:14:33):
Kind of like the young Americans for Freedom in the (19)60s and (19)70s. The young Americans for Freedom were a conservative group that was formed by Buckley. But a lot of people, when they talk about the actors in (19)60s, they totally omit them or say very little about that.

ES (00:14:52):
Right. But I think this civil rights movement really made a huge difference because it is the moment at which there is a mass movement for social reform. And that changed how people thought about political action. Before that, I do not think there was very much going on.

SM (00:15:23):
So, you deep down inside... If people were young enough, especially the early boomers born, say, in (19)46, that were maybe six and seven years old when McCarthyism was really rampant... And he was popular, I guess, through (19)54 or whatever. He was well known to the news... that that had any effect on these as they grew older and they wanted to speak up, like so many did on... with all the movements that took place in the late (19)60s. And we are not going to be held back. We are going to speak our minds. And...

ES (00:16:00):
Well, I think what it... The impact was not so much what happened, but what did not happen. There is a missing generation of activists. There is a missing institutional connection to some kind of ongoing left-wing tradition. That was shattered by McCarthyism. And so, what you have in the (19)60s with many members of the new left is the sense that they have to begin all over again.

SM (00:16:42):
You were at two places, obviously, where there was activism. Harvard had a lot of activisms. I have interviewed a couple professors at Harvard Square and...

ES (00:16:50):
I was not there then. What happened was, during the height of the "(19)60s", my then husband was teaching at Princeton, which was not a particularly active community.

SM (00:17:03):
Right.

ES (00:17:05):
And I can recall go... as a faculty wife of all things, going to the organizing meeting of the Princeton chapter of the Students for Democratic Society with my husband and I think one or two other faculty members at which these faculty members told the students, "This is a student run organization. The faculty cannot do it for you. You have to do it." So, Princeton was not particularly active in that period.

SM (00:17:38):
Yeah. Well, Harvard Square is one of those historic moments. And did being around students though... When you were around your peers, how would you define them at the colleges when you were there, when you were working on that doctorate, when you were working on that Master's in undergrad?

ES (00:17:57):
Yeah. Well, for some weird reason, I had a very interesting group of sorts of gang of friends. A number of them were red diaper babies, parents were communists, very close friends. And we were... Well actually, I was politically active in the early 1960s, like around (19)62, (19)63, (19)64. I was very active in the Northern Support group for the student non-violent coordinators.

SM (00:18:46):
Oh, SNCs.

ES (00:18:48):
We were SNCs. I was very active in helping, especially the Freedom summer stuff in 1964. I was involved, although then something else happened and I could not remain involved. But then, when we moved to Princeton, which we did in 1965, I was again active in SNC. And it became... For a very short time before it sort of all dissolved, I think I was head of the Princeton Friends of SNC or something like that.

SM (00:19:19):
Oh, okay.

ES (00:19:21):
So, I was politically active, not... I did not go south...

SM (00:19:25):
Okay.

ES (00:19:27):
... mainly because I was married, and I thought wives should not go leave their husband.

SM (00:19:37):
And so many of the people that were in the Freedom Summer in (19)64... We all know about Berkeley and the free speech movement, and Mario Savio and people like that, Tom Hayden and so forth. I know this is a very broad question, but when you think of the boomer generation... Again, lot... I... Well, first off, I would like to know whether you like the term, number one, and whether your terms defining generations. Because I have had individuals like Todd Gitlin that said, if you mentioned the boomer generation one more time, this interview was over. Because he does not like these little compartmentalization’s of the greatest generation, the silent generation, the boomer generation, millennials, generation X, boomers. He does not like it. And I have had quite a few that do not like it. But then some say, "Well, we got to have something."

ES (00:20:37):
Yeah, it is convenient. I mean, I am a historian. It is convenient as long as you contextualize it and realize that you cannot put everybody in the slot. And you need to look at what was actually going on during that time and realize that there were always alternative voices.

SM (00:20:57):
Yeah, but when you... If someone... If... Say you were in high school and you were in a 11th grade class and somebody had the courage to ask a question, and that is "What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the boomer generation?" Well, how would you respond?

ES (00:21:19):
These were people who came of age in the 1960s. They are a demographic bulge, which is why they cut so much attention because there were so many more of them proportionally within the population. And these were people who were on American campuses at the time of... I do a lot or higher education. So, this is a period when there is enormous expansion of American higher education, an enormous push actually to get people to go to graduate school. And this is something that I talk about in my book about the lost soul, of the role of graduate students in a lot of these student movements as a kind of in between group. The other thing, which I did not talk about, but I always talk about when I am describing the political activity and social movement of the 1960s, is... I illustrate it by describing my apartment that I got when I was a second-year graduate student at Harvard. I do not know if you know Cambridge at all.

SM (00:22:53):
Yeah. I have been up there. I have interviewed... I have interviewed 11 people at Harvard's.

ES (00:22:58):
Well, my apartment was on Bank Street, which was about maybe five blocks from Harvard Square, which is very centrally located. It was very cheap. It was $65 a month. Now admittedly, I did not have central heating, but I had a kerosene heater and my landlord put in a better heater because he thought I might burn down the house with [inaudible]. And the bathroom left something to be desired like a sink. I had to brush my teeth in the kitchen. But other than that, it was fine. It was three rooms, neighborhood was safe even though it was pretty inexpensive. It was a student neighborhood. And I had a roommate. And what this meant, if my rent costs me, what, under $40 a month, it meant that there was not on the people of my generation the kind of economic pressures that are on people today.

SM (00:24:17):
To work, yeah.

ES (00:24:19):
To work. You could live... I had a fellowship from... that paid for everything. I did not have to teach. And you could live very, very cheaply. And that allowed people not only the sort of freedom at that moment to become politically active, but also everybody knew they could get a job. You could get a job without having a PhD. My husband was hired at Princeton without having finished his PhD. That was common. And so, nobody worried about their economic situation. I mean, people probably did, but it was not the way it is today. People were not graduating with huge debts. And that economic security, I think, allowed for much more political expression than you have today. I mean, I think that is really key. And it is not something that people talk about.

SM (00:25:34):
Some people have even gone to the extreme... As a follow-up to what you just said is that people who really have been around a while, and were activists historically, and have experienced what you experienced, but now see that there are some really good students who care, but they do not have the time to do things like they did when they were young, they feel it is almost as if there is a conspiracy out there to keep young people busy so they cannot take the time to protest, to challenge, to be an activist like in the past because they have no time. And one interesting point, when you study the millennial generation, which I... because I am in higher ed too. The millennials... In the Irving Howe book, Holland Strauss states that they are like the boomer generation with respect that they want to leave a legacy, but they want to leave a legacy after they are (19)40, whereas boomers wanted to change the world immediately. And a lot of it has to do with getting the degree, working, and not having the time, raising a family and so forth. I am not sure if all that is true, but the thing is, they... Today's young people to me, deeply care. They just do not have the time to be involved in fighting for a lot of things they care about. You raised a real good point there. This is kind of a follow-up too. And are there any characteristics that you feel define the generation? Any strengths or weaknesses that, of the boomers that you knew and lived with or taught...

ES (00:27:27):
Yeah, they are all somewhat younger than I am. I do not think I could characterize, make that comment.

SM (00:27:38):
70 million?

ES (00:27:39):
Yeah.

SM (00:27:39):
Yeah.

ES (00:27:40):
I do not think I could.

SM (00:27:42):
Because there are... One of the things here that... Is there... Today, the conservative... I will repeat that... I am going to read this part. How do you respond to the critics of the boomer generation who blame many of the problems today on what happened back in the (19)60s and early (19)70s; the attacks are around the sexual revolution, worries, the drug culture, inner spirituality as opposed to organized religion, the divorce rate, the beginning of the breakup of the American family, the divisiveness that was so strong back then, no respect for law and order, violence, no respect for authority, no lack... the lack of trust in leadership... Even some people have said the spending habits of the boomers, they were a materialistic generation. They spent, and that is one of the reasons why we are in the problems today. Individually, it is because the, I want it now and I am not going to wait for it. And then, of course, overall, the challenge to the status quo, the tax on corporate influence, and group think, and the concept of victimization, the welfare state mentality. These are all the things the conservatives attack the boomer generation... And it is particularly the counterculture from the (19)60s and (19)70s.

ES (00:29:16):
Well, a lot of this is not... I teach. This is the period I teach. And what you see, certainly with regard to say the sexual revolution, is it was not a revolution. It was an evolution, but it had been... Sexual morals were changing, had been changing since the early 20th century. You were not seeing a "revolution". What you were seeing was finally a sort of realization of what actually was happening. And I think the sort of cultural changes, again, were things that would have happened, whether there was some kind of "(19)60s" or not. These changes in how people related a sort of greater informality would have happened anyhow. And a lot of what conservatives’ attack, of course, is protest against things like the Vietnam War and white supremacy in the South, which were certainly not exactly the products of the boomer generation.

SM (00:30:46):
Oh yes, definitely. You already mentioned earlier that one of the great qualities or developments that happened during the time when boomers were young is the expansion of higher education and the increasing numbers of students who go to college as opposed to even in the (19)50s. There was something going on. We know about the GI Bill after World War II and many came back, but certainly with the influx of new young people coming in, certainly access. So, could you describe the state of higher education in America, just as a person who has studied it in the following periods? Because I am... We are looking at 65 years now. Boomers have been alive now 65 years, the oldest ones. And every single day, I hear that there are something like 13,500 people turning 65, or boomers, every day for the next God knows how many years. So, when you look at 1946 to 1960 in higher education, what comes to your mind?

ES (00:31:56):
Well, that is this period of really massive expansion and a democratization of higher ed... and a democratization of higher education. Really, before the Second World War, it was very much an elite phenomenon. After the Second World War, it becomes, essentially, the badge of middle-class status and you get an expansion, especially in the public sector, not just at flagship universities like the University of Michigan, but the creation of a much broader second tier of institutions. For example, I am looking at Pennsylvania, where I grew up, in the 1950s, there were all these state teachers’ colleges.

SM (00:32:54):
Oh, yes, Portland, that was the where I grew up, Portland State Teachers College.

ES (00:32:58):
Sure. They all begin to expand, they become part of bigger systems. So, you are getting more and more access to higher education from people who have very different backgrounds. It is no longer something that is, quote, unquote, "elite". Now, the higher education system is still very stratified and there are these elite institutions at the top, and it goes down to community colleges and stuff. But the access to some kind of higher education really just grew enormously. For people, like myself, who were in graduate school, and young faculty members, what they were experiencing was this incredible job market. I have been working, doing research, I did some for the most recent book and I am going to do more, on academic freedom in the 1960s faculty activism, not student activism.

SM (00:34:11):
Oh, wow.

ES (00:34:13):
I discovered a left-wing faculty group that saw itself as the faculty twin or the alumni movement of SDS, essentially.

SM (00:34:29):
You mentioned that briefly, that of the 25 at one school, 24 of them were let go.

ES (00:34:35):
Yeah-yeah.

SM (00:34:37):
I remember that.

ES (00:34:42):
Called the New University Conference. And they had this newsletter, and at one point, they were going to set up a job service, a job referral bank for their members. What they said was, "Come to us for the next job from which you would be fired." But the fact was, most of the people who did lose their jobs for political reasons during this period were able to find other academic jobs if they wanted them. Some people just dropped out. But it is because of this enormous expansion, again, the fact of much more economic security really enabled people to be more politically active.

SM (00:35:31):
When you look at that period than after Kennedy came into power 1961 to, say, 1980, when Ronald Reagan, how would you define that? There's so much... How would you define that higher education during that time?

ES (00:35:45):
Well, that is still the period of expansion. The moment at which the expansion stops, it is pretty clear. It is about (19)74, (19)75. The oil shock's the moment. It is a crisis in, I think we have to say, American world capitalism. That is the moment at which you begin to see cut backs in the amount of state funding of higher education, period. Where you begin to see a concerted attack on the quote, unquote, "liberal academy" from a bunch of conservatives who then begin to fund right wing foundations and writers and start what we see as, I think, a really major attack on what is considered the liberal academy.

SM (00:36:52):
That is really from late (19)70s through today, really?

ES (00:36:56):
Yes. Yeah.

SM (00:36:57):
Ronald Reagan played a key part in that because his attack-

ES (00:37:03):
He began it in California. He ran against Berkeley in 1966.

SM (00:37:07):
Yes. Yeah. That is unbelievable development and that he used the same package when he ran for President, too. Law and order, law and order and against the welfare state. Remember, those are the two things. You have written three books. Oh, you have written more than three books, but I am not making comment on this book because I did not know about this one. But the three books, the No Ivory Tower, the book on McCarthyism, and your most recent book on higher education the lost soul. In a few words, what was the basic premise of all three of those books? Secondly, when you look at the three major premises of these books, how did the main information that premise affect the Boomer generation?

ES (00:38:06):
Well, I guess the main thing I am concerned about is free speech, freedom of expression, intellectual freedom, the ability to express dissent about major political issues. I think that is what I have been looking at in one way or another in all of my work. At the moment, I am working on yet another book. It is a study of American political repression. Very general from, as we say, the Puritans to the Patriot Act. I am working with a political scientist who is a political theoretician. Because when I was working on all of these books, I had assumed that a political theorist had written something about political repression, seems to be a rather important subject. Yet it turns out there is very little, which was surprising. Anyhow, I have a colleague who is a political theorist at Brooklyn College, teaches CUNY, and he is interested in exactly the same things I am, so we are working on this together. But it is all about, essentially, the suppression of the dissent and looking at how it operates. Stuart, is there anything I can get you?

Stuart (00:39:47):
No, I am fine!

ES (00:39:47):
Okay.

SM (00:40:01):
Yeah. When we talk about freedom of speech, the first thing that always comes to my mind, and I do not think it is being taught very well in higher education today in graduate programs, is the influence that the Free Speech Movement had on the history of higher education, in my opinion. I went to Ohio State in the early (19)70s and we talked about it all the time. We even talk about legal aspects of when police can come on campus, when they cannot come on campus and everything. But what the one thing that always strikes me about the Free Speech Movement is people try to separate it, saying that it was the early to middle (19)60s as opposed to the other protests, when in reality, the precursor of what was to come. Secondly, Mario Savio, whether you like him or not, his words will forever... I have been on Berkeley many times. I took part-time courses there, too. The fact is that the thing that stands out in that whole movement was the fact that ideas, ideas is what the university is all about, not corporate control. So, a lot of the battles that took place during that (19)64, (19)65 period, and many of the battles in the late (19)60s and early (19)70s on even my campus at SUNY Binghamton, was that we wanted a campus of ideas and not departments and grants and fundraising and everything linked toward corporate control of what can happen on the university camps. What is upsetting to me today is it seems like we have forgotten everything about the Free Speech Movement.

ES (00:41:46):
Yeah.

SM (00:41:48):
We know its history but... I interviewed Arthur Chickering who wrote Education and Identity, and I also interviewed Alexander Astin, the great scholar in California. After each interview, I said, " What is your biggest disappointment as a person who have lived in higher education for your whole career?" They both said, "Corporate control of the university," and they are teaching PhD students in higher ed. Just your thoughts on the Free Speech Movement, how important it was?

ES (00:42:17):
Well, it, I think, emphasized the significance of higher education, institutions of higher education, as those places where people not only can debate ideas freely... But also, in the contemporary world, as you know, the media is increasingly shrinking and speaking more to niches than not to a general public. We do not have that general debate out there at any high level. It is all soundbites. So, the universities are really the last place where you can deal with complicated ideas, where you can deal with complexity, where things are not just black or white, but are much more nuanced. Of course, that is something that I think and do not want to talk about a corporate conspiracy, but clearly, we are seeing a dumbing down of public debate, public discourse. Universities are really the last place that is pushing back against that. But as they are being starved for funds, as there are all these pressures from the outside against tenured radicals, you know that whole business-

SM (00:44:11):
Oh, yeah.

ES (00:44:11):
... then universities are increasingly on the defensive. Their administrations are scrambling for money. They are totally focused on the bottom line. What that means, of course, is that they have to go out and get students, their students. It creates a very competitive atmosphere on campuses. It is competitive for faculty. It is competitive for students. The values of a desire to learn, the desire to find things out, the desire to find things out for oneself, is a sideline in this need for getting ahead for what you see now is an increasing vocationalization of higher ed.

SM (00:45:09):
Yep.

ES (00:45:12):
Where people are essentially majoring in occupational therapy and not liberal arts, which, I think, are increasingly necessary for the creation of an informed citizenry. What we are losing is that informed citizenry that can think about reality rather than something that is been filtered through advertising and celebrities and this whole soundbite culture.

SM (00:45:50):
I have this theory, and I like your opinion on it, and that is based on my experiences of 30 years in higher ed at four different universities, Jefferson being one, Ohio University, Ohio State, and Westchester University. That is that it seems like the term activism is a term that universities are deathly afraid of. They like the term volunteerism. Everybody's volunteering. In my studies, I read that volunteerism is at its peak when it is usually a conservative era. But certainly, the Peace Corps was about volunteerism. Volunteers in Service to America was the same thing. If you go to any university campus now, just about 95 percent of students are involved in some sort of volunteer activity. Some required, and some do it on their own and join clubs and get involved. But when you talk about activism, I have always believed that activism is a step beyond volunteerism. Volunteerism might be twice a week or once a week. But 24/7 is what activism is. It is a state of mind. It is a state of being. It is about speaking up. It is about challenging. It is about seeing injustice and trying to write it. I can go on and on here. Do you believe that universities today, whether it be the university you teach at or Berkeley or SUNY Binghamton, my alma mater or Ohio State or other alma mater, are they afraid of the word activism?

ES (00:47:32):
Oh, sure. What we are seeing, of course, I mean, one way of looking at it is this kind of... What do they call it? Civic service or something that is being pushed on many campuses. It is very much about individualism. It is individual action. Whereas what you are talking about is really a collective action that is directed against systemic problems. In other words, it is not enough or individuals to work in soup kitchens or food banks. Maybe we should change the laws and create a different kind of welfare system. So, there is a big difference here between individual acts, charity and something that is really challenging the system at a much deeper level.

SM (00:48:39):
I agree. We had an activist series at Westchester. It was growing. We had Tom Hayden, we had Daniel Berrigan. I mean, he was really growing, and we read Howard Zinn's thin book, and we had faculty members coming in with students reading it together. We were asked to stop it because it was... I do not know why, but we were asked to stop it, even though it was becoming a success. So, something was happening beyond the areas that I know that were threatening someone.

ES (00:49:14):
Really? When was this?

SM (00:49:17):
Oh, this was recently at my university, within the last 10 years.

ES (00:49:20):
Yeah, interesting.

SM (00:49:20):
It may have been as much against me as it was against what we were doing. Because when we had a small group of students and they did not think it was enough people that were involved, and it was a long story. When I interviewed Phyllis Schlafly and I also interviewed David Horowitz, they had mentioned to me that they said that the radicals of the (19)60s are now controlling today's universities. But then I asked them, let us be more specific here, because I know a lot of conservatives who are running universities today. They said, "Well, what we are really saying is that they control the curriculum." Do you believe that? Phyllis Schlafly is very strong on this. She said, "The radicals of the (19)60s are now controlling the curriculum of the university."

ES (00:50:12):
No, no. What happened is that in the (19)60s, universities expanded, we have already talked about that, brought in whole new groups of people. Universities began to address issues that they had not addressed before because there was pressure from their own students. But it is not because the students were radical, it is because the students were African American or Hispanic and felt somewhat excluded. The administration, much more than the faculty themselves, are the ones who created some of these changes. One group I studied, I looked at for my book on the Lost Soul of Higher Education, were people who started women's studies programs. Well, these women may have been radicals, but the pressure to extend women's studies came from their students. The administrators were very-very happy to accommodate them, to create women studies programs. Why? Because students were taking them, they were popular. That feeds this bottom-line mentality. If you can attract a lot of students, your administration likes you.

SM (00:51:49):
Yes, definitely. That is one of the things. Would you say that when you look the era of the Boomer generation and the accomplishments that came out of the period, some people say they were negatives, like I mentioned earlier, their opinions, but that one of the greatest accomplishments that ever came out of this period was the fact of the women's studies, the Black studies, the Native American studies, Asian American studies, all the different studies programs that were all criticized in one way or another at the beginning, but have become very legitimate and important parts of the university of today?

ES (00:52:27):
Well, yeah, I think so. I mean, also, one of the big changes that we are seeing in curriculum in my school, which is a very conservative school, to put it mildly, has just implemented some curricular reforms, much of it having to do with the introduction of non-western studies, of looking at the rest of the world, which is absolutely crucial. That is not being propelled by (19)60s radicals. It is being compelled by the changes out there in society.

SM (00:53:06):
Yeah. I remember when Henry Cisneros spoke at the NASPA conference about maybe 12 years ago, former mayor of San Antonio. He said, "We have been preaching a long time in higher education about preparing our students for the global world." We are in the technology world here. So, it is a little different than even in the (19)60s, but even then, you can communicate faster than you could in the (19)50s. Basically, is not that what it is all about? We need to prepare students for the global world that we are facing. Thus, when we talk about Muslim studies and understanding Islam is preparing our students to understand the cultures of the world, the people they are going to live with, the people they are going to work with, and the people who are going to be their bosses.

ES (00:53:54):
Yeah.

SM (00:53:56):
That is what Henry Cisneros was talking, said, " You need to prepare for the future, not be afraid of the future," and that was his presentation. "Do not fear the future, prepare for the future." I get emotional on this. This is a very important topic. Well, when did the (19)60s begin in your eyes and when did it end?

ES (00:54:21):
Oh, boy. I teach a course on the (19)60s, so I devote at least one class to that. It really varies. I think you could always say, "Well, let us take the election of Kennedy." But a lot of stuff began earlier. Certainly, the Civil Rights Movement is building up from what civil rights historians called the Long Civil Rights Movement, from the Second World War on. On the other hand, you can say, well, the escalation of the Vietnam War in 1964, (19)65 may have created the more raucous part of the (19)60s. Certainly with regard to say women's issues, it is really not till again, the mid (19)60s that women become much more self-conscious. Betty Freidan's Feminine Mystique is published in 1963. When does it end? Again, I forget to look at the mid (19)70s, the oil shock, and the Vietnam War.

SM (00:55:58):
Was there a watershed moment that stands out above everything else?

ES (00:56:05):
Moments. No one, single one, I think-

SM (00:56:11):
Some people believe that we are still... Well, because of the culture wars, (19)60s never ended because of the battles that are ongoing and continue. If you go to the Vietnam memorials, you will see many of them have still got their problems with those who were in the anti-war movement, and that is just a small segment. But you see the battle within the university that you write so brilliantly about. The two words that stand out is the concept of truth, which was the Western civilization, the truth, and Aristotle and Plato and so forth. Then relevance, which, it has got to be relevant to me. Well, Western civilization is, "We have got to prepare you as a liberal person." So those are all part of the ongoing... I think we are doing okay time-wise.

ES (00:57:08):
Yeah.

SM (00:57:10):
Any other thoughts on...

ES (00:57:14):
Well, I think the country has turned so far to the right since the 1970s that to talk about being under the sway of the (19)60s is just fantasy. Well, we are living in a very conservative moment in which things that were taken for granted in the (19)60s are deemed totally unrealistic like the fact that the government might be able to do some good and create valuable social programs.

SM (00:57:58):
Yes.

ES (00:57:59):
Nope. That is just...

SM (00:58:04):
The one thing I wanted to ask you because you bring it up in the book is the fact that the university was... Again, Mario Savio said that the purpose of the university is about ideas. So, when the conservative right, whether it be not Mr. Pipes, who many people on our campus can out stand, they always bring him up, something about him rubs people the wrong way. Irving Kristol, that group of people... See, what am I trying to say here?

ES (00:58:42):
What, these cultural conservatives?

SM (00:58:44):
Yeah, the cultural conservatives. I was trying to get to a point here about... The thing that we talk about, if Savio says that it is about ideas and Dr. Pipes says it is something about truth, what is the difference? There are different truths. So, Pipes has a problem with different truths. You raised this in your book.

ES (00:59:20):
Okay. Well, what is weird is that to a certain extent, these people who are bemoaning, the loss of that sense of centeredness and a common culture, which is a quote, unquote, "elite culture"... Often, I have a big deal sympathy for them because one of the big fights that I see and that I think one of the big problems within universities is not so much the content of general education courses, but the fact that... What is it now? I think over 60 percent of all students are there not getting any exposure to it. They are taking occupational therapy; they are taking hotel management. They are not getting exposure to anything that is giving them an ability to think critically about their own lives and about their own culture and their own country. The people who are concerned about the denial of absolute truth and how humanists have become relativists and all that, are not dealing with the real problem. I think they probably do not really care that 70 percent of all college students are studying hotel management. Because they are elitist, they are only thinking about the top tier of upper class and upper middle-class students who are making it into these highly selective, elite schools. They are students who got to Williams, who are going to Stanford and Harvard and University of Michigan maybe. The ones who are going to Westchester University, they do not care about. So, I think it is very much a class issue.

SM (01:01:42):
See, access to higher education is one of the greatest accomplishments that I have seen in my lifetime and to see criticism of affirmative action or multiculturalism and diversity, and not only with African-Americans, but Latinos and women and gay and lesbian students, transgender, Asian students, and Native America, you name it. I cannot understand why people are critical of that like it. And to be openly blatant about the fact that wanting to go back to the way it was when white America, white middle class America, was basically the college students of the era, just bottles my mind. And that is kind of what... I have got a little more here. One of the things I wanted to mention, too, you probably talked about this in your class, is the generation gap. There was that historic, well, that historic... that Life Magazine cover, which I have framed, it was in my office for many years, of the young student that was in the blue with his father pointing fingers at him in one eye, and he is pointing finger back at his dad and in the other eye and it is basically talking about the generation gap between parents of the World War II generation and their kids over culture, over the war, a lot of other things. Did you experience that a lot in your own family, number one?

ES (01:03:16):
No.

SM (01:03:17):
And did you see it amongst your peers on college campuses when you were there?

ES (01:03:21):
No.

SM (01:03:24):
I bring the generation gap up because of the fact that in 1984, there was a book that came out called The Wounded Degeneration. There was a symposium made up of veterans like Phil Caputo, Jack Wheeler, Jim Webb, who is now a Senator, Bobby Muller and James Stahls. The purpose of the meeting was the fact that Webb brought up, he said that we all think of the Boomer generation as a service-oriented generation because the Kennedys asked not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country- These, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country, the Peace Corps and giving back. But Mr. Webb said, "It's anything but. The (19)60s generation was not about service because if it was about service, they would have gone and served their nation in the Vietnam War." And he said, "So it is as much about the generation gap between parents and their kids, but it is also between the generation itself, those who served, and those who did not." What are your thoughts on the generation gap and the intra-generation gap?

ES (01:04:35):
There is a wonderful book about the people who served in Vietnam called the Working-Class War. You know it?

SM (01:04:41):
I think I am-

ES (01:04:41):
Chris Appy.

SM (01:04:41):
Okay.

ES (01:04:51):
It is a wonderful book. And I teach Vietnam and I usually assign it. And basically, the military draft, because of the 2- S student deferment, meant that the people who were drafted were trying to escape the draft, came from a working-class background, mainly inner-city kids, rural kids. It is the same today disproportionately, and middle-class white kids did not serve. Very-very few. I mean, I knew some when I was a graduate student, but there were very few. And so, it's really a class issue here. That is what we are talking about. There were some upper-class kids, John Kerry, comes to mind.

SM (01:06:00):
Oh, yes.

ES (01:06:01):
He did. But that is the exception.

SM (01:06:10):
Jim Webb, I almost had an interview with him before he became senator and now it is impossible to even get through to him, but he is very vocal on a lot of subjects. He is responsible for the three men statue being there because a lot of people did not want it there. Not very big Vietnam vets. But is that very strong language that he is using saying that he condemns the entire generation if they are labeled as service-oriented generation because they did not serve in Vietnam?

ES (01:06:40):
No. It is those of us who opposed the war felt that by working in the anti-war movement, we were doing our service.

SM (01:06:51):
See that is an important point, too, that is come up that some anti-war people had believed that they were veterans, too, of the war, but in a different way. And when I mentioned that to Vietnam veterans, some of them laugh it off. They said, "They did not serve in Vietnam."

ES (01:07:08):
No, they did not. But I do not think it is the same thing. But what they were doing was what they felt was best for the country. And I feel very strongly. I mean, I think Vietnam was absolutely crucial for anybody who lived through the (19)60s and it was an immoral, terrible war. And whatever anybody could do to stop it, I think was justified.

SM (01:07:43):
What did the universities learn from the (19)60s and (19)70s that they have carried into today? I know that we had new leadership at the top of every university and that many of the presidents of that era have died off. But what did they learn from that period and what have they forgotten?

ES (01:08:05):
Well, I think actually what happened was that-

SM (01:08:05):
Let me turn this other one. This one is a little slower.

ES (01:08:18):
... what happened was not so much that they learned today. I think that what happened was, by the end of the (19)60s, beginning of the (19)70s, all of a sudden, they were confronted with unprecedented financial issues, and they immediately switched to a different mode. When we talk about the corporatization of the American university, what we are really talking about is the fact that from the early (19)70s on, college and university administrations are essentially concerned with financial issues and that they are doing whatever they can to raise money, to have good relationships with state legislatures, to help their faculty get grants. You had, for example, in 1980, the passage of the Bayh-Dole Amendment which allows universities to actually profit from the research, the federally funded research that their faculty members have been carrying out. And you get more and more academic administrators behaving not as intellectual leaders or public intellectuals, but as fundraisers and-

SM (01:09:58):
That is one of the reasons why I left the university. I refused to be a fundraiser and link educational programs like the Islam America Conference to money. I refused. And I knew my time was up. So, you raise a very important point here.

ES (01:10:22):
... So I think whatever concerns they may have had about student activism or anything, just that was of secondary importance, and they begin to identify with the institution as an institution rather than with the institution as some kind of educational entity or a place for intellectual discourse or for any kind of research other than research that can be measured either in money or in some sort of terms of prestige. The US News and World Report has absolutely undermined higher education in that respect.

SM (01:11:14):
It is interesting because the university has kind of been really doing this assessment thing. You got to prove that what you do has value to students. And I would say that we would get instant responses back from students who had been involved in the program, but you cannot assess the importance of a speaker, a forum, a conference, on a student immediately. It is something that could impact you years from now. They want instant satisfaction and instant assessment. And I say, you cannot do that in student life. You cannot.

ES (01:11:49):
Right.

SM (01:11:51):
You can get your data, but it is just not going to happen. And it is just like, it is amazing. An assessment is everything now, as you well know. Prove it has value and if you do not prove it immediately, then maybe we will cut it. Would you say that the university is really the main [inaudible] now in America over the respect of the cultural wars?

ES (01:12:17):
Yes.

SM (01:12:17):
And this is what frustrates the conservatives more than anything else is they have not been able to get control of it?

ES (01:12:22):
Yeah. I think, I mean, it is also happening, of course, in the schools as well. The No Child Left Behind Act has been actually disastrous with respect to, again, it is data driven. So, they measure what they can measure rather than what might have some intrinsic importance but cannot be quantified. And so, you have got schools all over the country teaching to the test rather than actually helping students learn. It is not very useful. It is certainly diverting attention, money, and sort of quality education is not occurring.

SM (01:13:21):
You bring up also that the think tanks that have really developed since the late (19)70s, early (19)80s, the Heritage Foundation, groups like that, are basically because I know I have interviewed quite a few of them and a couple of them are my friends. I have interviewed them, Michael Barone and people like that, Marvin Olasky. But the question I want to bring up here is many that went into these think tanks felt that they could not survive in a university, that the liberal university was ostracizing conservative faculty members. So, for them to truly get their voice, they had to leave the university and join... And of course, the Ola Foundation was the one you talked about that to fund them with lots of money to get their point of view out there. This is part of the culture wars. This is like...

ES (01:14:19):
Yes. If there were wrestling foundations out there, I might need two, but not because of staff, but because who does not want to be well paid to write books? But you cannot tell me right-wingers who are getting that kind of money.

SM (01:14:39):
And they are the main threat to the universities then today really.

ES (01:14:42):
The only person, I am sure there are others, but the only person I can think of who sort of a prolific writer on the left is who I guess left the university, because I know she has got a PhD, is Barbara Ehrenreich.

SM (01:14:58):
Oh, yeah.

ES (01:15:00):
She is obviously supporting herself by her writing, but she is not in the same [inaudible] department.

SM (01:15:07):
I interviewed Charles Murray, and we all know him, and Christina Hoff Summers, people like that, Ruth Seidel, [inaudible] to that group. Would you consider the Muslim students of today, the communist, the students who were labeled, or faculty members that were labeled, as communists in the (19)50s and African American students in the late (19)50s and early (19)60s, would you? I am saying we have a xenophobia in this country, which is a fear of people who are different, and we love the status quo. And whenever it is threatened by any group trying to get access to what other people have, there is resistance. Would you say Muslim students are that way today?

ES (01:16:00):
Yeah. I think there is a kind of demonization that, especially since 9/11 has targeted Muslims and people from the Middle East. No question about it.

SM (01:16:14):
When you see that link between the McCarthy period, too, and ostracizing those people who may have been labeled communist and then African American students?

ES (01:16:25):
Sure-sure.

SM (01:16:25):
Yeah?

ES (01:16:37):
You know, had a similar kind of scapegoating going on.

SM (01:16:37):
I only got about six more questions here. Could I use your restroom? Here we go. I have just a listing here, and I am not going to list all these things. I just wrote them out here. But what do you consider the major events in Boomer lives of... What do you believe, when you teach the (19)60s, some of the major events that really shaped their lives from that period? I have specific events. I do not know if you want me to read them here or list them.

ES (01:17:14):
Obviously, the civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. I mean, I think those are the two key ones. And everything else sort of comes out of that, including the Women's Movement.

SM (01:17:42):
Right. I will just read these real fast. It will take maybe about five, well, maybe a minute. But I would certainly list McCarthyism in the (19)50s because I am talking about the things that really were historic events in the period of their lives. The Montgomery Bus Boycott in (19)56, Sputnik in (19)57 which was the thrust for education. I think Elvis Presley played a key role because of rock and roll music.

ES (01:18:07):
[inaudible]

SM (01:18:08):
It was the late (19)50s and he was the precursor. And the Beatles, obviously, in (19)64. The election of John Kennedy, Eisenhower's famous statement about the military industrial complex, which there is a great movie out on it. Certainly, the Bay pf Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis where we could have ended the world. Certainly, the Kennedy assassination, the Gulf of Tonkin, Johnson withdraws from the presidency. Everything in 1968. The assassinations and the convention and the trial. Barry Goldwater's rise which, at that time, did not seem very big as he was destroyed in the election, but was the beginning of the Reagan period really. My La, the bombing of Cambodia in 1970, and Kent State. And then I just had Woodstock in (19)69 and the Summer of 11, (19)67. The beatniks that I felt were important because of the fact they were antiestablishment, the communal movements, Watergate in (19)73, leaving Vietnam in (19)75. The Carter Presidency was important because it was during this time that the rise of the religious right was happening even though he was a Democrat. And the la-

ES (01:19:25):
Oh, also the oil shock.

SM (01:19:27):
Yes, the oil. I remember that.

ES (01:19:29):
That is a big thing. That is the moment at which this sort of belief in unlimited economic expansion comes to an end, you know? That you come up against limits, including environmental limits and economic limits.

SM (01:19:47):
Well, that My Lai speech that he gave, too, which-

ES (01:19:49):
[inaudible]

SM (01:19:52):
... he has been definitely criticized for giving that, but it was really kind of truthful.

ES (01:19:55):
Mm-hmm.

SM (01:19:56):
And then certainly the Reagan election, perestroika, the fall of Communism, the Gulf War, Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, those kinds of things. And then I had on here historic events on the colleges, which what happened at Cornell that you so beautifully talk about in your book in (19)69, Jackson State in (19)70, Columbia in (19)69, Harvard Square, Wisconsin, a tragedy there. And then, of course, [inaudible] and San Francisco State. Those are all kind of things that stood out amongst the Boomers. That is for me. Is that a good representation?

ES (01:20:34):
I would say so. Do you have the Free Speech Movement?

SM (01:20:36):
Yes. I have that. I did not write it here, but it certainly is in there. And Freedom Summer, too.

ES (01:20:43):
Yeah.

SM (01:20:43):
Definitely. As a scholar, writer, professor, author, and you were the head of AAUP for-

ES (01:20:51):
No. I was the editor of the [inaudible]

SM (01:20:55):
Okay. What has been the relationship between faculty and students since (19)46? I bring this up because it is not talked about very much. I went into higher education because I saw the lack of communication that was happening between students and college administrators. They did not trust them. Not one iota. And I was at Binghamton at the time. We trusted faculty, but then faculty were really having some hard times at Binghamton because they wanted to be out of the protests, but they could not be. I remember Dr. Mahosky who had just come from Berkeley in our social department at Binghamton, he was challenged by the student leadership by saying, "You just graduated with a PhD in Berkeley. We want you over with us united against the recruiting on campus." And he said, "I am not going to do that. I have a job now. I have a little child to raise. I am not going to do what I did at Berkeley. I got a job." And then the student had debated him right on the spot and challenged him. And I actually kicked him out of class. And I will never forget that, but that was kind of what was happening. But we had faculty members in our residence halls that were always there for us, who would be willing to talk with us about the issues of the day. So as a person who has been a scholar herself, what has been the historic relationship, not between administration and students, but between faculty and students? And specifically, the Boomers when they were in college in the (19)60s and (19)70s.

ES (01:22:35):
You are dealing there.... Oh, that is my husband. Hang on a second.

SM (01:22:38):
Yup. Yeah, the relationship between students and faculty.

ES (01:23:10):
Oh, right. It varied on campuses. Younger faculty were often very close to students. And remember, in the (19)60s and early (19)70s, the faculty was very young, you know? It is my generation who was lured into, I mean they literally threw money at us. Anybody who was a good student, they threw money at. I did not even think of going to graduate school. I was going to become a high school teacher. And I was nominated for a fellowship, and I said to myself, if I get a fellowship, I will go to graduate school. But I got the fellowship. I had not even applied to graduate school.

SM (01:23:44):
Wow.

ES (01:23:45):
That would not happen today, to put it mildly. And so, there was just this sort of generation of very young faculty members who were involved in things like teaching. That was a big movement in the early days of the Vietnam War. My ex-husband was very much involved with ethnicities for Chinese history. And anybody who knew anything about Asia would get involved so that there were faculty activists. They were very split. And I talk about that in my book about whether they should express their activism the way the students did, you know? Participating in demonstrations and sit-ins or whether they should do it through their intellectual work, through exploring Black history or women's history. And I see myself as, and my work as, very much, my political work, doing through my scholarship, looking at questions of dissent and [inaudible], in particular. Just mainly because I think that is probably what I do better than anything else, so that, therefore, it is probably the most effective use of my time and energy.

SM (01:25:23):
My whole career has been about bringing students and the faculty together because that was my job as co-curricular program director, director of student programming. And I did at every university I worked at. I loved working with the faculty. In fact, the faculty never thought of me as an administrator and that was a positive. They said, "We feel that you are part of us." And that got me in a little trouble at times when I had to take stands that were either faculty stands or administrative stands, and I was really more with the faculty than I was with the administration. But one of the things, a lot of the young people of the late (19)60s and early (19)70s were involved in Encounter. Encounter was a very important part of one's graduate education. And you even bring up in your book how a lot of the classes in that period in the (19)70s where the students would sit in the round and they'd be able to express their feelings on things, that is what the graduate education was like at Ohio State University in the (19)70s, was Encounter. And that is been heavily criticized, too, because it was forcing you to speak your mind and you could be vulnerable and you needed support, and then sometimes you can be on your own. And so, it was a great lesson for me. But they do not do that today. It is not part of the training. And I think we were closer to faculty members back then than we are now. Would you agree on that?

ES (01:26:55):
Well, I think what happened was that, in the mid (19)70s, beginning a little earlier in some fields, they stopped hiring full-time faculty members. So that there is a lost cohort of academics of people, in their really from their (19)40s and (19)50s, early (19)60s, that my generation is about, many of them have retired, many of my friends have retired.

SM (01:27:39):
Right.

ES (01:27:42):
And so, the age difference because of this lost generation, I think is a problem. I mean, when I was, well, in graduate school, I would not say that, but some of the people who I was closest to, faculty members, were maybe 10 years older than me. That is not a huge difference. But when they are 30 years older, they are another generation.
SM (01:28:10):
And that was my challenge. But I have a little philosophy of, never lose the kid in you, from Roy Campanella, you know?

ES (01:28:16):
Yeah.

SM (01:28:18):
And my graduate advisor was a PhD at 29 at Ohio State, Dr. Johnson. He came from the University of Illinois. How important were the students at ending the Vietnam War, in your opinion? A lot of people believe they played an important role. Some say it was just a minor role.

ES (01:28:40):
They played a role. I mean, can we quantify how important it was? Certainly, they brought a lot of publicity and attention to the anti-war course. But there were a lot of other people. Basically, for a lot of that period, I was just a faculty wife. I was not really active as an academic. A lot of people like me, ordinary citizens. Plus, of course, you have to [inaudible], you know?

SM (01:28:59):
Yes.

ES (01:28:59):
They were crucial, I think. They-

SM (01:29:14):
When you-

ES (01:29:14):
... they needed the Americans.

SM (01:29:22):
... Yeah. When you teach your course on Vietnam, what is the reason why we lost the war? What is the reason why we lost that war?

ES (01:29:32):
Because we could not win it. The way that the American government defined victory was an independent non-communist South Vietnam. That did not exist. And so, the only way we could win the war was not to lose it. And the only way that we could not lose it was by maintaining a massive American military presence. And that turned out to be politically impossible. So that was that.

SM (01:30:09):
And that is where the Vietnam syndrome really comes in, too, because when George Bush says the Vietnam syndrome is over, I mean, really? And still influences foreign policy and certainly where we are in Afghanistan today.

ES (01:30:23):
Yeah.

SM (01:30:24):
Do faculty today overall support the university as a vehicle for uplifting all races? This was a quality that really came about during the (19)60s and (19)70s. And where are the faculty today, liberal and conservative, with respect to, what is the purpose of the university?

ES (01:30:48):
Oh man, that is a tough one. To begin with, 70 percent of the faculty are what we call contingent faculty members. They are-

SM (01:31:06):
Adjuncts.

ES (01:31:06):
... adjuncts or people on short term contract who have no chance of tenure. There is only 30 percent and shrinking of tenured and tenure-track faculty members. So that, I mean, that is absolutely the most important fact to know about higher education today, which is that the, what we would call the casualization of the faculty.

SM (01:31:19):
Yeah.

ES (01:31:26):
And so, when you talk about faculty, you are talking about people who are living usually very desperate lives. Or else, a lot of faculty, especially who's more vocationally-oriented programs, are people whose primary identification is as a practitioner in some other field than higher education. In other words, they are teaching part-time, but they're basically accountants who teach one course in accounting at a community college. They are accounted as faculty, but they do not probably identify themselves as faculty. And that is very important. And so, when you are talking about core faculty members, that is not the main group now teaching in American university. So, for traditional faculty members, how do they view the mission of the university? They are under enormous pressure, especially if they do not have tenure yet to produce because it's such a competitive atmosphere. They have to, at most schools now, you have to have a book. It is crazy.

SM (01:32:57):
Before you are even hired?

ES (01:33:00):
In some cases, yeah.

SM (01:33:06):
Uh-huh.

ES (01:33:06):
But at least for tenure, you need a book.

SM (01:33:07):
Yeah.

ES (01:33:08):
And the pressure is for people now in literary studies, and Modern Language Association did a survey of tenure practices and claim that people needed not just a book, but sufficient progress for the second book to get tenure. So, the bar keeps rising. Same thing for scientists. They have to get grants and it is increasingly more difficult to get grants than it used to be. From the good old days in the (19)60s, they threw money at people. Now even very well-known scientists often cannot get their research funding. And so, the pressures are on people to get grants to work in areas that are going to be popular, that are for scientists and engineers. And often these are fields in which there is more corporate influence, you know? Biomedical stuff, electronics and things like that.

SM (01:34:32):
One of the questions I have asked everyone from day one when I interviewed Senator McCarthy, the late Senator McCarthy, and that is, do you feel that the Boomer generation has an issue with healing like the Civil War generation that went to his grave not truly healed? I bring this question up because in 1995, a group of 14 students in our Leadership On The Road Program did meet Senator Edwin Muskie. I knew Senator Nelson and so we met 14 former United States Senators. And we were very lucky because Senator Muskie had just gotten out of the hospital and actually died four months later. But he gave us two hours and one of the questions the students came up with is, they were not alive in 1968, but they had seen the video and they wanted to know, they saw the divisions, the terrible divisions in America, assassinations, police and young people fighting each other, riots in the streets, burnings and so forth. And they wanted to know if their parents' generation were going to go to their graves not truly healed because of the tremendous divisions of the time, and they asked him this question. And is healing an issue in this generation? Do you feel it is an important issue when you teach the (19)60s? Because the Vietnam Memorial was... Jan Scruggs wrote, To Heal a Nation, which was trying to heal the Vietnam veterans and their families. But I think he wanted to also- Trying to heal the Vietnam veterans and their families. But I think he wanted to also try to heal the nation in its own way through the wall that heals.

ES (01:36:12):
It is an interesting question. It is not one I look at mainly it is when I teach the (19)60s, by the end of the semester I am rushing through it. So, I never get to sort of any final summing up and looking at that kind of issue. So, I am not really sure. Sometimes, certainly it's in the rhetoric of some of these people who are still blaming these radicals for everything that went wrong in the country. But I do not know whether at a sort of grassroots level it was still a live issue or not. I have a feeling that the economic issues that began to surface after 74 and the sort of transformation of the economy and the squeeze on the middle class, people are not thinking in terms of the (19)60s anymore. But I could be wrong.

SM (01:37:16):
Musty answered in a way the students were not even expecting. He basically said that we have not healed since the Civil War over the issue of race. And he had just seen the Ken Burns series on TV. And he had come in the hospital, and he gave a lecture on all the 600,000 who had died in the Civil War, almost an entire generation. He did not even mention the (19)60s. And here is a man who was the vice-presidential candidate in Chicago. Students looked at each other and were shocked, but that is where he was coming from. The issue of race has not healed. And I think I raised the question because when you go to the Gettysburg Battlefield, you will see a statue there. The last person alive who served in the war, and he died in 1924, something like that. And then when you go to the Vietnam Memorial, I interview Jan Scruggs. He thinks there are many that anti-war that come to that wall with their kids and regret that they did not serve because it was the watershed event of the era. And those who may have been against the war would not change feelings. But many of the boomer generation had brought their families there and some of their kids that said, "Dad, what did you do in the war?" Would you say also the lack of trust is an important quality within the boomer generation? They just were not a trusting generation. They all saw all these leaders lie at them.

ES (01:38:48):
Yeah. Well, sure. There was an enormous amount of hypocrisy and I think they were always has been. Franklin Roosevelt lied.

SM (01:39:00):
Yeah, Eisenhower lied on you too.

ES (01:39:02):
Sure. I mean, Roosevelt essentially pushed the United States toward the Second World War. We supported that war. So, the fact that he was doing a lot of covert stuff, military stuff, we overlooked because it was the good war. But that is what politicians do.

SM (01:39:28):
Would you say this lack of trust though is a positive quality? Because in political science 101 class, you are always taught that you need to challenge your government and never take anything for granted. And so, it is actually a good quality, not a bad quality?

ES (01:39:41):
I think so. But the problem is that it is very hard for people to get information. What we are seeing is a lot of government secrecy, enormous amount of government secrecy. It's really increased exponentially. One of the things I am looking at in my current work.

SM (01:40:05):
I am down to my final, actually, three questions.

ES (01:40:10):
Okay. Because I am going to have to leave.

SM (01:40:10):
Could you define the term counterculture in your own words?

ES (01:40:16):
Well, it is a very specific moment in American life in the late (19)60s and early (19)70s, mainly of young people who are sort of sloughing off a kind of easy, materialistic set of values that had been fairly prevalent in American society. And teaching through drugs, through music, through communal living, through political activism. A whole kind of new, I use the word lifestyle, but that is really what we are talking about. A new set of values.

SM (01:40:58):
Could you define culture wars?

ES (01:41:06):
Oh yeah. That is something that I ordinarily do not believe in conspiracy, but I have got this document from the early (19)70s that was written by the future Supreme Court, justice Lewis Powell, who was advised-

SM (01:41:25):
Oh yes, that was in the book.

ES (01:41:29):
Advising a friend in the Chamber of Commerce about how to deal with liberal academics who were supposedly poisoning their students against, I guess, the corporate sector. And what you see is a very well-funded attack on whatever social movements and ideas came out of the (19)60s.

SM (01:42:00):
What are your thoughts on these two books? Clark Kerr's, Uses of the University, was a classic book, and it was about in the free speech movement. And I think Ernie Boyers, the College of the Undergraduate Years, is just a treasure. He was in the SUNY system, and I had a chance to meet him and briefly know him. Your thoughts on those two scholars and the meanings of their work?

ES (01:42:28):
Poor Clark Kerr. Again, apparently during the free speech movement, I have read his memoirs, I have been on programs with him and stuff. He is very evasive. He is a labor negotiator. He believes you get everybody together in a room and things will work out. And I think he was completely blindsided by how rigid the sort of conservatives and the board among the regions were, and how ideological the students were. He really just could not deal with it. And he was an end of ideology person.

SM (01:43:27):
Oh, yeah. And Daniel Bell, I interviewed him last summer before he died.

ES (01:43:31):
Yeah. And Boyer's stuff, I do not know as well. I mean, I know his stuff he did on the quote unquote, scholarship of teaching. And clearly, he wanted to de-emphasize research at the undergraduate level, which is part of the competitive trust within the American Academy.

SM (01:44:06):
Would you say that the best books that were written for the boomers at the period in the late (19)60s, early (19)70s were books like actually, that Culture of Narcissism was the late (19)70s. The End of Ideology was Daniel Bell's book in the early '60s. And then you had Theodore Roszak’s book, the Making of a Counterculture. And then you had The Greeting of America by Charles Reich. Those are all major pieces to me, over a 20-year period of critique of the generation. And do you agree? Do you think they are all valid works?

ES (01:44:52):
I have never read most of them. Actually, what is interesting, only when I got into doing this most recent book, did I read Bloom.

SM (01:44:59):
Oh, yes.

ES (01:45:01):
Which was the book, it was the best teller. I owned it, but I had never read it. Well, I read it and discovered tons of things in there. But a lot of these iconic books, I have a feeling, do not get read.

SM (01:45:18):
When I interviewed Daniel Bell, who was not, well, of course he is passed away. And that was at Harvard. It was a thunderstorm. And then there is this old house right near the Theological Seminary up there. And I am in that area there, and his wife is upstairs on a machine keeping her alive, and he has got a maid working for him. And he is not well. But when I asked that question about about Roszak and Reich, "Garbage. Garbage, they were not intellects." And then I said, "What did you think of Kenneth Kenison's Youth and Descent?" "That was a good book." So, it was interesting in talking. Who were the most influential scholars present as teachers who shaped the university any time after World War II?

ES (01:46:18):
Markusa, obviously. And then I think, I am not sure I could even name them all. It is the people who began doing stuff when Vietnam, who began looking at American farm policy.

SM (01:46:48):
Chomsky?

ES (01:46:48):
Yeah. But I was doing history, so I am sort of thinking of the revisionist scholars.

SM (01:46:50):
Oh, yes.

ES (01:46:54):
I am thinking of Herb Guttman, and people who were doing social history, very important in my field. E.B. Thompson, the British starring was crucial. Looking at working class history. It may be different in different fields. I am thinking, not just in terms of the general culture, but in terms of the intellectual history of specific fields.

SM (01:47:31):
And this is kind of a two-part question. Who were the winners in the (19)60s and (19)70s in higher ed or even in society? And who were the losers? And secondly, who were the heroes of the boomers? Were there winners and losers in the (19)60s and (19)70s?

ES (01:47:41):
I was going to say that is not the kind of a question that I would have asked or that I think I could give an answer to. Who were the losers? Linden Johnson, Richard Nixon. But I do not know that anybody won.

SM (01:47:41):
And the heroes?

ES (01:47:41):
People like King, obviously, Bob Moses, Mario [inaudible]. I think to a certain extent Bobby Kennedy was a very charismatic figure. I mean, what always struck me about Bobby Kennedy was how much he was able to change.

SM (01:47:41):
Oh yeah.

ES (01:47:41):
From this sort of tough guy enforcer in his early career to somebody who really was reaching out. Fannie Lou Hamer. That same pantheon of figures mainly in the Civil Rights movement, which I think, at least for me, was really just so exemplary in so many ways.

SM (01:49:23):
I do have one more question. And that is, did the boomers become the most unique generation in history? Did they change the world for the better as they said they were going to do when they were young? And I know that I have actually met with some of my former peers at my undergraduate school, and they still feel the way they did back in the '60s, that they feel that the generation did a lot to make the world better, but look at the word we are living in. So just your thoughts. This boomer generation is still, they are 65 at the oldest now, and they are going into old senior citizen period.

ES (01:50:04):
They are still out there.

SM (01:50:04):
Yeah, they are still out there. But for the first 65 years, what can you say about them? Did they change the world for the better overall?

ES (01:50:12):
George W Bush did not. I think it is mixed, very mixed.

SM (01:50:24):
Yeah. I know the only two boomer presidents have been Clinton and Bush, but actually Obama is a boomer, but he was only two. Finally, the last thing. I am done, but I wanted to read this and if you had any comment, just comment on this. And finally, we know only about 5 percent of the 70 million became activists in the (19)60s and (19)70s. Some used the statistic that most young people were not active or linked to causes as a negative. However, this still adds up to many millions. And my question is this, for those who were active, whether it be conservatives or liberals, do you feel they were very different in a positive way with respect to caring about equality, justice, freedom of speech, respect for differences, wanting to make the world a better place to live? Or was it all about, as some of their critics say, a generation that was selfish, not selfless. They avoided the draft in any way possible. Plus wanted instant satisfaction via demands due to their being brought up in the (19)50s as spoiled kids who were given everything by their depression era parents. This applies to white middle class students, but also eventually to the African American students and students who lived in poverty. Because they were also making demands, but for different reasons.

ES (01:52:07):
Well, you know that my answer would be that clearly there were real social problems. The Vietnam world was a major problem. And people were motivated to take action for very idealistic reasons. It did not turn out well in every case, but I do not think these people are self-interested. It is a mixture of people.

SM (01:52:25):
Was there any question I did not ask you-you thought I was going to?

ES (01:52:25):
No, that was very good.

SM (01:52:25):
Great. Any final comments?

ES (01:52:25):
Nope.

SM (01:52:25):
Testing one, two. Testing.

ES (01:55:51):
The other thing that I learned when I was doing, actually, my other book on McCarthyism. I did not learn this until somewhat later, was that my sixth-grade teacher had been fired for having been at communist. He had never come up before a committee. But the FBI had fingered him. And at that point, the school, it was not a public school, a private school that was being run by Kaplan University. And they just got rid of him.

SM (01:56:27):
As a young person though, you are just seeing these things for the first time. Your parents are one thing. But you were a young person, a child, or a teenager. What were you thinking about America? And this is of course post World War II America.

ES (01:56:45):
Yeah. I grew up in this sort of liberal ADA, Americans for Democratic Action. My family worked in favor of Stevenson; my mother worked for the Democratic Party in what was the Republican suburb at that time. And the rumor was always that you had to vote Republican in order to get your garbage collected, which was not true. But anyhow, so I grew up with a fairly, what would you say, liberal set of values, which I think I still retain.

SM (01:57:34):
Where would you go to high school?

ES (01:57:36):
I went to Cheltenham High School.

SM (01:57:38):
Outside Philly?

ES (01:57:39):
Outside Philadelphia.

SM (01:57:40):
Colleen McCue, it is a small world again. Colleen McCue was the president of our contemporary issues committee as a senior. She is in Scotland right now, is from that high school. Colleen McCue.

ES (01:57:51):
Sure. We had all kinds of people who went there. Benjamin Netanyahu went there after my time. Reggie Jackson went there.

SM (01:58:01):
Oh my God.

ES (01:58:03):
And it was a big public high school with a wide variety of kids. It was fun. And then I went to Radcliffe. That is where I got my undergraduate. And I stayed to get my PhD at Harvard. And I was in European diplomatic history, I got my PhD in European diplomatic history. I wrote my thesis on the French debt to the United States after the First World War. It was really boring. I did not enjoy it. And I sort of did not want to go on in that field. And so, this is about the early 1970s. I finished my degree, I really did not know what I wanted to do. I was married. I had two children. We were living in Cambridge at the time. My then husband was teaching Chinese history at Brandeis. And I got a job teaching freshman composition at Harvard. The way it worked was, you did not have to be in English, but you had to be a good writer. And they assumed somehow it would rub off on the students. And you could teach your course as a mini course, almost a little seminar, as long as you assigned a lot of writing and worked on the writing. And so, I decided I would teach a course on the 1950s, because I had grown up then. And I was curious. So, I started teaching this course. This is the mid '70s. And I discovered that there was no good book on McCarthyism that I could assign my students. Nothing. No scholarship, no nothing. And so, after about a year of this, I decided, well, I did not know what I wanted to do, but I was really interested in McCarthyism. And I would write a book about it. And I had already written a Chinese cookbook of all things.

SM (02:00:28):
Oh my God.

ES (02:00:32):
Which is another piece of my life. And I had a literary agent, and I got a fellowship from the Radcliffe, what was then called the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe, for a year to work on this project on McCarthyism. And after a little while, it became very clear to me that this was a big project and that there was another person who was writing a general book of McCarthyism. And I was sort of advised by a whole bunch of people to narrow down my topic. So, I decided I made a choice. I realized I could either look at McCarthyism in one city or I could take an occupational group. And I decided since I was an academic, I might as well look at the academy. And so that is how I got into writing my first book about McCarthyism.

SM (02:01:32):
I think, if I can remember correctly, there is only two books that I can recall, because I have them, are the Buckley book he wrote on McCarthyism. That was out and then there was one Richard Reeves?

ES (02:01:46):
Yeah, which was the general of McCarthy himself.

SM (02:01:49):
I think Richard Rovere wrote a book.

ES (02:01:56):
Wrote a book in about 1956, and Reeves wrote a biography. And it is Thomas Reeves, I think.

SM (02:02:01):
Thomas Reeves. Yeah.

ES (02:02:02):
Right. But there was not a general study. The general study that was being written at the time is by a guy named David Caute, C-A-U-T-E, who was a Brit. Who actually, I had been in a graduate seminar with him many years ago. And his book was, it is not bad, but it did not do what I did. And so anyhow, I finished this book on McCarthyism and the university, mainly looking at dozens of archives of universities, interviewing a lot of people. And then decided that I would go back to my original project of looking at McCarthyism as a whole, because there still was not the kind of book that I thought should be written. And by that time, I had moved to New York and had remarried. And I had changed. I do not think you could do it these days. But in those days, I was able to switch from European history into American history. And at the time my McCarthy in the University book came out, I was able to get a teaching job at Yeshiva in American history. And I began to work on the sort of general study of McCarthyism. I published; I do not know if you have seen this little book for classroom use.

SM (02:03:42):
No, I have not seen that.

ES (02:03:49):
Let me show you.

SM (02:03:52):
What influence do you feel that McCarthyism period had on the boomer generation, that was really in elementary school at the time. But subconsciously many kids were watching that on black and white TV. I know I was one of them. I did not quite understand it. Oh, I think I have seen that, but I do not have it. Yeah, I have seen that.

ES (02:04:12):
Well, this is the one that it is used. It is what people assign in their classes. Because it is much smaller than the other book.

SM (02:04:25):
Wow. There is the gentleman to his right.

ES (02:04:29):
Yeah. And that was a lot of fun. That is just a bunch of documents with a sort of hundred-page overview.

SM (02:04:37):
Do you think that the McCarthyism had any effect on young boomers? Some of I have interviewed say that they were too young, but others subconsciously were seeing this fear that was happening in America at the same time. The fear of speaking up. And they were cognizant of what was going on in the South too. If you were watching the news about the Civil Rights movement and the courage of the Dr. King and others to stand up and speak.

ES (02:05:08):
Right. I mean, I think what happened was certainly when I was growing up, the left was completely marginalized. I mean, I just plain did not even know it existed. When I was at Radcliffe, there apparently was a socialist club, but it was made up of what were called Red Diaper babies. People whose parents had been pretty much in the Communist Party. And people who were outside of that very small left-wing world did not even know it existed.

SM (02:05:48):
Kind of like the young Americans for Freedom in the (19)60s and (19)70s. The young Americans for Freedom were a conservative group that was born by Buckley. But a lot of people, when they talk about the actors of (19)60s, they totally omit them or say very little about them.

ES (02:06:07):
But I think the civil rights movement really made a huge difference because it is the moment at which there is a massive movement for social reform. And that changed how people thought about political action. Before that, I do not think there was very much going on.

SM (02:06:36):
So deep down inside, if people were young enough, especially the early boomers born say in (19)46 that were maybe six and seven years old when McCarthyism was really rampant and he was popular, I guess, through (19)54 or whatever, he's well known in the news. That had any effect on these as they grew older and they wanted to speak up, like so many did on with all the movements that took place in the late (19)60s. And we are not going to be held back. We are going to speak our minds.

ES (02:07:05):
Well, I think the impact was not so much what happened, but what did not happen. There is a missing generation of activists. There is missing institutional connections to some kind of ongoing left-wing tradition, that was shattered by McCarthyism. And so, what you have in the '60s with many members of the new left is the sense that they have to begin all over again.

SM (02:07:42):
You were at two places, obviously, where there was activism. Harvard had a lot of activisms. I have interviewed a couple professors at Harvard Square.

ES (02:07:49):
I was not there then. What happened was during the height of the quote unquote, (19)60s, my then husband was teaching at Princeton, which was not a particularly active community. And I can recall go-

SM (02:08:03):
Right.

ES (02:08:03):
And I can recall, as a faculty wife of all things, going to the organizing meeting of the Princeton chapter of the Students for Democratic Society with my husband and I think one or two other faculty members, at which the faculty members told the students, "This is a student run organization. The faculty cannot do it for you. You have to do it." So, Princeton was not particularly active in that period.

SM (02:08:31):
Yeah. Well, Harvard Square is one of those historic moments. Did being around students though... when you were around your peers, how would you define them? At the colleges when you were there, when you were working on that doctorate, when you were working on that masters and undergrad?

ES (02:08:48):
Yeah. Well, for some weird reason, I had a very interesting group of gangs of friends. A number of them were Red Diaper Baby and were communist, very close friends, and we were... well actually, I was politically active in the early 1960, around (19)62, (19)63, (19)64. I was very active in the Northern Support group for the Student Non-violent Coordinator Committee. I was very active in helping, especially the Freedom Summer stuff in 1964. I was involved, although then something else happened and I could not remain involved. But then when we moved to Princeton, which we did in 1965, I was again active in Smith, and became for a very short time before it dissolved, I think I was head of the Princeton Francis Smith, or something like that.

SM (02:09:59):
Okay.

ES (02:10:10):
So, I was politically active, not... I did not go south, mainly because I was married, and I thought, "Wives should not go leave their husbands."

SM (02:10:15):
Yeah, and so many of the people that were in the Freedom Summer in (19)64, we all know about Berkeley and the free speech movement, Mario Savio, people like that, Tom Hayden and so forth. I know this is a very broad question, but when you think of the boomer generation, again... first off, I would like to know whether you like the term, number one, and whether you like terms defining generations? Because I have had individuals like Todd Gitlin that said, "If you mentioned the boomer generation one more time, this interview was over." Because he does not like these little compartmentalization’s of the greatest generation, the silent generation, the boomer generation, millennial, generation x, boomers. He does not like it.

ES (02:11:02):
Yeah.

SM (02:11:03):
And I have had quite a few that do not like it. But then some say, "Well, we got to have something."

ES (02:11:07):
Yeah, it is convenient. I am a historian. It's convenient. As long as you contextualize it and realize that you cannot put everybody in this slot, and you need to look at what was actually going on during that time and realize that there were always alternative voices.

SM (02:11:27):
Yeah, but if someone... say you were in a high school and you were in a 11th grade class, and somebody had the courage to ask a question. That is: what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the boomer generation? How would you respond?

ES (02:11:46):
These were people who came of age in the 1960s, their demographic bulge, which is why they cut so much attention. Because there were so many more of them proportionally within the population, and these were people who were on American campuses at the time of the... I do a lot of higher education, so this is a period when there's enormous expansion of American higher education. An enormous push actually, to get people to go to graduate school. This is something that I talk about in my book about the lost soul, of the role of graduate students in a lot of the student movements as an in-between group. The other thing, which I did not talk about, but I always talk about when I am describing the political activities and social movements of the 1960s, is... I illustrated by describing my apartment that I got when I was a second-year graduate student at Harvard. I do not know if you know Cambridge at all.

SM (02:13:10):
Yeah, I have been up there. I have interviewed 11 people at Harvard.

ES (02:13:15):
Well, my apartment was on Bank Street, which was about maybe five blocks from Harvard Square, and it was very centrally located. It was very cheap. It was $65 a month. Now admittedly, I did not have central heating, but I had a kerosene heater, and my landlord put in a better heater because I might burn down the house if... I might have. The bathroom left nothing to be desired, like a sink. I had to brush my teeth in the kitchen. But other than that, it was fine. It was three rooms. Neighborhood was safe, even though it was pretty inexpensive as a student neighborhood, and I had a roommate. What this meant, if my rent cost me what under $40 a month, it meant that there was not on the people, my generation, the kind of economic pressure that are on people today.

SM (02:14:26):
To work.

ES (02:14:27):
To work. You could live, I had a fellowship from... that paid for everything. I did not have to teach, and you could live very, very truthfully. That allowed people not only the freedom at that moment to become politically active, but also everybody knew they could get a job. You could get a job without having a PhD. My husband was hired at Princeton without having finished his PhD. That was common.

SM (02:15:07):
Wow.

ES (02:15:08):
And so, nobody worried about their economic situation. People probably did, but it was not the way it is today. People were not graduating with huge debt, and that economic security, I think, allowed for much more political expression than you have today. I think that is really key, and it's not something that people talk about a lot.

SM (02:15:35):
Some people have even gone to the extreme, as a follow-up for what you just said. People who really have been around a while and are more activists historically and have experienced what you experienced, but now see that there are some really good students who care, but they do not have the time to do things like they did when they were young. They feel... it is almost as if there is a conspiracy out there to keep young people busy, so they cannot take the time to protest, to challenge, to be an activist like in the past because they have no time. One interesting point, when you study the millennial generation, which... because I am in higher ed too.

ES (02:16:17):
Yeah.

SM (02:16:17):
The millennials in the Irving Howe book, Howe-Strauss states that they are like the boomer generation with respect that they want to leave a legacy, but they want to leave a legacy after they are 40. Whereas boomers wanted to change the world immediately, and a lot of it has to do with getting the degree, working and not having the time, raising a family, and so forth. I am not sure if all that is true, but the thing is, today's young people to me deeply care. They just do not have the time to be involved in fighting for a lot of things they care about. You raised a real good point there. This is a follow-up too. Are there any characteristics that you feel define the generation? Any strengths or weaknesses of the boomers that you knew and lived with or talked?

ES (02:17:14):
Yeah, they are somewhat younger than I am. I do not think I could characterize like that...

SM (02:17:24):
70 million?

ES (02:17:25):
Yeah.

SM (02:17:26):
Yeah.

ES (02:17:26):
I do not think I could.

SM (02:17:29):
One of the things here that... today, the conservative, I will repeat that. I am going to read this part. How do you respond to the critics of the boomer generation who blame many of the problems today on what happened back in the (19)60s and early (19)70s? The attacks around the sexual revolution, worry, the drug culture, inter-spirituality as opposed to organized religion. The divorce rate, the beginning of the breakup, the American family, the divisiveness that we... so strong back then. No respect for law and order, violence, no respect for authority, and... lack of trust in leadership. Even some people have said the spending habits of the boomers, they were a materialistic generation. They spent, and that is one of the reasons why we are having the problems today. Individually, it is because, "I want it now and I am not going to wait for it." And then of course, overall, the challenge, the status quo, the tax on corporate influence, and group think, the concept of victimization, the welfare state mentality. These are all the things that conservatives attack the boomer generation, and particularly, the counterculture from the (19)60s and (19)70s.

ES (02:18:55):
Well, a lot of this is not... this is the period I teach, and what you see is certainly with regards to say, the chronicled sexual revolution. It was not a revolution. It was an evolution. It had been... sexual worries were changing, had been changing since the early 20th century. You were not seeing a quote unquote "revolution." What you were seeing was finally a realization of what actually was happening. I think the cultural changes, again, were things that would have happened, whether there was some conduct, quote unquote "(19)60s" or not. These changes in how people related, a greater informality, would have happened anyhow, and a lot of what conservatives’ attack, of course, is protests against things like the Vietnam War and white supremacy in the South, which were certainly not exactly the products of the boomer generation.

SM (02:20:12):
Oh, yes, definitely. You already mentioned earlier that one of the great qualities or developments that happened during the time when boomers were young is the expansion of higher education, and the increasing numbers of students who go to college, as opposed to even in the (19)50s. There was something going on. We know about the GI Bill after World War II and many came back, but certainly with the influx of new young people coming in, certainly acts as... but could you describe the state of higher education in America, just as a person who has studied it in the following periods? We are looking at 65 years now. Boomers have been alive now 65 years, the oldest one, and every single day, I hear that there are something like 13,500 people turning 65 who are boomers. Every day for the next God knows how many years. So, when you look at 1946 to 1960 in higher education, what comes to your mind?

ES (02:21:17):
Well, there is this period of really massive expansion, and a democratization of higher education. It really... before the second World War, it was very much an elite phenomenon. After the Second World War, it becomes essentially the badge of middle-class status. You get an expansion, especially in the public sector, not just at flagship universities like University of Michigan, but the creation of a much broader second tier of institutions. So, for example, I am looking at Pennsylvania, where I grew up. In the 1950s, there were all these state teachers’ colleges. Westchester...

SM (02:22:10):
Cortland. That was where I grew up, Cortland State teacher's house.

ES (02:22:11):
Sure.

SM (02:22:11):
Yeah.

ES (02:22:16):
And they all begin to expand. They become part of bigger systems, and so you are getting more and more access to higher education from people who have very different backgrounds. It's no longer something that these quotes unquote "elites," now... the higher education system is still very stratified. There are these elite institutions that the top end go attend, to community colleges and stuff, but the access to some kind of higher education really just grew enormously. As for people like myself who were in graduate school and young faculty members, what they were experiencing was this incredible job market. I have been working, doing research. I did some for the most recent, but I am going to do more on academic freedom in the 1960s, and... faculty activism, not...

SM (02:23:18):
Oh wow.

ES (02:23:20):
...student activism, and I discovered a left-wing faculty group that saw itself as the faculty twin... were the alumni movement of SPS, essentially.

SM (02:23:34):
You wrote... you mentioned that briefly, that...

ES (02:23:36):
Yes, yes.

SM (02:23:36):
...of the 25 at one school, 24 of them were let go.

ES (02:23:41):
Yes. Yeah.

SM (02:23:41):
I remember that.

ES (02:23:42):
Called the new University Conflict, and they had this newsletter. At one point, they were going to set up a job service, job referral banks for their members. What they said was, "Come to us for the next job from which you would be fired." But the fact was, most of the people who did lose their jobs for political reasons during this period were able to find other academic jobs if they wanted them. Some people just dropped out, but because of this enormous expansion... again, it is the fact of much more economic security really enabled people to be more politically active.

SM (02:24:31):
When you look at that period then, after Kennedy came into power 1961 to say 1980, when Ronald Reagan... how would you define that? There is so much.... how would you define that higher education during that time?

ES (02:24:44):
Well, that is still the period of expansion. The moment at which the expansion stops, it is pretty clear. It is about (19)74, (19)75.

SM (02:24:54):
Right.

ES (02:24:55):
The oil shocks, the moment. It is a crisis in... I think we have to say American world capitalism, and that is the moment at which you begin to see cut back in the amount of state funding of higher education. It is this period where you begin to see a concerted attack on the quote unquote "liberal" academy from a bunch of conservative events, begin to fund right-wing foundations and writers, and start what we see as I think a really major attack on what is considered a liberal academy.

SM (02:25:45):
And that is really from late (19)70s through today, really.

ES (02:25:48):
Yes. Yes.

SM (02:25:49):
And Ronald Reagan played a key part in that because... but he had a passion...

ES (02:25:55):
He began it in California. He ran against Berkeley in 1966.

SM (02:25:58):
Yes. Yeah. That is an unbelievable development, and that he used the same package when he ran for President too, law and order. Law and order, and against the welfare state.

ES (02:26:10):
Yep.

SM (02:26:11):
Remember, those are the two things. You have written three books. Oh, you have written more than three books, but I am not making a comment on this book because I did not know about this one. But the three books, the one on... the No Ivory Tower, the book on McCarthyism, and your most recent one.

ES (02:26:28):
Yeah.

SM (02:26:28):
Higher Education, the Lost Soul. In a few words, what was the basic premise of all three of those books? And secondly, when you look at the three major premises of these books, how did the main information of that premise affect the boomer generation?

ES (02:26:52):
Well, the main thing I am concerned about is free speech. Freedom of expression, intellectual freedom, and ability to express dissent about major political issues. I think that is what I have been looking at in one way or another in all of my work. At the moment, I am working on yet another book on a study of American political repression. Very general from, as we say, the Puritans to the Patriot Act, and I am working with a political scientist who's a political theoretician, because when I was working on all of these books, I had assumed that political theorists had written something about political repression. Seems to be a rather important subject, and yet it turns out there is very little, which was surprising. Anyhow, I have a college who is a political theorist at Brooklyn College, teaches at CUNY, and he is interested in exactly the same things I am, so we're working on this together. But it is all about essentially the suppression of defense and looking at how it operates. Stuart, is there anything I can get you?

Stuart (02:28:32):
No, I am fine.

ES (02:28:32):
Okay.

SM (02:28:37):
Yeah. When we talk about freedom of speech, the first thing that always comes to my mind, and I do not think it is being taught very well in higher education today in graduate programs, is the influence that free speech movement had on the history of higher education, in my opinion. I went to Ohio State in the early (19)70s, and we talked about it all the time. We have talked about legal aspects when police can come on campus, when they cannot come on campus and everything. But the one thing that always strikes me about the free speech movement is people try to separate it, saying that it was the early... the middle (19)60s as opposed to the other protests...

ES (02:29:14):
Oh, right.

SM (02:29:15):
...when it was, in reality, the precursor, what was to come. Secondly, Mario Savio, whether you like him or not, his words will forever... I had been on Berkeley many times. I took part-time courses there too. The fact is that the thing that stands out in that whole movement was the fact that ideas, ideas is what the university is all about, not corporate control. So a lot of the battles that took place during that (19)64, (19)65 period, and many of the battles in the late (19)60s and early (19)70s on even my campus at SUNY Binghamton, was that we wanted a campus of ideas and not departments, grants, fundraising, and everything linked toward corporate control of what can happen on university campus. What is upsetting to me today is it seems like we have forgotten everything about the free speech movement.

ES (02:30:14):
Yeah.

SM (02:30:14):
We know it is history. But I interviewed Arthur Chickering who wrote Education and Identity, and I also interviewed Alexander Astin, the great scholar in California.

ES (02:30:24):
Yeah.

SM (02:30:24):
After each interview, I said, "What is your biggest disappointment, as people who have lived in higher education, through your whole career?" And they both said corporate control of the university, and they are teaching PhD students in higher ed.

ES (02:30:36):
Yeah.

SM (02:30:37):
Just your thoughts on the free speech movement, how important it was, and...

ES (02:30:42):
Well, it is emphasized the significance of higher education institutions, of higher education, as those places where people not only can debate ideas freely, but also given, and in the contemporary world, as you know, the media is increasingly shrinking and becoming... speaking more to niches and not to a general public. We do not have that general debate out there at any high level. It is all sound bites, and so the universities are really the last place where you can deal with complicated ideas, where you can deal with complexity, where things are not just black or white, but are much more nuanced. And of course, that is something that I think we want to... talk about a corporate conspiracy, but clearly, we are seeing a dumbing down of public debate, public discourse. Universities are really the last place that is pushing back against that, but as they are being starved for funds, as there are all these pressures from the outside, against tenured radicals, you that...

SM (02:32:22):
Oh, yeah.

ES (02:32:22):
...whole business, that universities are increasingly on the defensive. Their administrations are scrambling for money. They're totally focused on the bottom line, and what that means, of course, is that they have to go out and get students. It creates a very competitive atmosphere on campuses. It is competitive for faculty, competitive for students, and the value of a desire to learn, a desire to find things out, the desire to find things out for oneself is a sideline in this need for getting ahead. For what you see now is an increasing vocationalization of higher ed, where people are essentially majoring in occupational therapy and not liberal arts, which I think are increasingly necessary for the creation of an informed citizenry. What we are losing is that informed citizenry that can think about reality, rather than something that is been filtered through advertising and celebrities, and this whole sound bite culture.

SM (02:33:55):
I have this theory, and I like your opinion on that, and that is based on my experiences of 30 years in higher ed at four different universities, Jefferson being one, high University of Ohio State, and Westchester University. That is that it seems the term activism is a term that universities are deathly afraid of. They like the term volunteerism. Everybody is volunteering. In my studies, I read that volunteerism is at its peak when it's usually a conservative era, but certainly the Peace Corps was about volunteerism. Volunteers and service to America was the same thing, and if you go to any university campus, now just about 95 percent of students are found in some volunteer activity. Some required, and some do it on their own and join clubs. But when you talk about activism, I have always believed that activism is a step beyond volunteerism. Volunteerism is... might be twice a week or once a week, but 24/7 is what activism is. It is a state of mind, is a state of being, and it's about speaking up. It is about challenging. It is about seeing injustice and trying to right it. I can go on and on here.

ES (02:35:14):
Yeah.

SM (02:35:14):
Do you believe that universities today, whether it be the university you teach at, or Berkeley, or SUNY Binghamton in my alma mater, or Ohio State, my other alma maters... are they afraid of the word activism?

ES (02:35:28):
Oh, sure. What we are seeing, of course... one way of looking at it is this kind of, what do they call it? Civic service or something, that is being pushed...

SM (02:35:41):
Oh, yes.

ES (02:35:41):
...on many campuses. It is very much about individualism. It is individual action. Whereas what you are talking about is really a collective action that is directed against systemic problems. In other words, it is not enough for individuals who work in food kitchen, or food banks. Maybe we should change the laws and create a different kind of welfare system, so that there is a big difference here between individual acts of charity and something that is really challenging the system at a much deeper level.

SM (02:36:30):
I agree. We had an activist series at Westchester who was growing. We had Tom Hayden, we had Daniel Berrigan. We had... it was really growing, and we read Howard Zinn's thin book, and we had faculty members coming in with students reading it together. We were asked to stop it because it was... I do not know why, but we were asked to stop it, and even though it was becoming a success, so something was happening beyond the areas that I know that were threatening someone.

ES (02:37:00):
Yeah. When was this?

SM (02:37:03):
This was recently at my university within the last 10 years.

ES (02:37:08):
Yeah. Oh, that is interesting.

SM (02:37:08):
And it might have been as much against me as it was against what we were doing, because we had a small group of students and they did not think it was enough people that were involved. It was a long story. But when I interviewed Phyllis Schlafly, and I also interviewed David Horowitz, they had mentioned to me that... they said that the radicals of the (19)60s are now controlling today's universities. But then I asked them, "Let us be more specific here, because I know a lot of conservatives who are running universities today." They said, "Well, what we're really saying is that they are running. They control the curriculum." And do you believe that? Phyllis Schlafly is very strong on this. She said the radicals of the (19)60s are now controlling the curriculum of the university.

ES (02:37:53):
No, no. What happened is that in the (19)60s, universities expanded. We have already talked about that, grow up in whole new groups of people, and universities began to address issues that they had not addressed before because there was pressure from their own students. But it's not because the students were radical, it is because the students were African-American and Hispanic, and felt somewhat excluded. The administration, much more than the faculty themselves, are the ones who created some of these changes. One group I studied, I looked at for my book on the Lost Soul of Higher Education, were people who started women's studies programs. Well, these women may have been radical, but the pressure to expand women's studies came from their students, and the administrators were very, very happy to accommodate them to create women's studies programs. Why? Because students were taking them. They were popular, and that feeds this bottom line mentality. If you can attract a lot of students, your administration likes you.

SM (02:39:30):
Yes, definitely. That is one of the things. Would you say that when you look at the era of the boomer generation and the accomplishments that came out of the period, some people say they were negatives, like I mentioned earlier. Their opinions, but that one of the greatest accomplishments that ever came out of this period was the fact that the women's studies, the black studies, the Native American studies, Asian American studies, all the different studies programs that were all criticized in one way or another at the beginning, but have become very legitimate and important parts of the University of today, just...

ES (02:40:01):
Well, yeah, I think so. I mean...

SM (02:40:02):
Just ...

ES (02:40:02):
Well, yeah, I think so. I mean, also one of the big changes that we are seeing in curriculum, and my school, which is a very conservative school, to put it mildly, has just implemented some curricular reforms, much of it having to do with the introduction of non-Western studies, of looking at the rest of the world, which is absolutely crucial. That is not being propelled by (19)60s radicals, it is being propelled by the changes out there in [inaudible] society.

SM (02:40:37):
Yeah. I remember when Henry Cisneros spoke at the NAFA conference about maybe 12 years ago, former mayor of San Antonio. He said, "We have been preaching a long time in higher education about preparing our students for the global world." We are in the technology world here, so it is a little different, but even in the (19)60s, and even then, you can communicate faster than you could in the (19)50s. So basically, is not that what it is all about? We need to prepare students for the global world that we are facing. And that is when we talk about Muslim studies and understanding Islam, it is preparing our students to understand the cultures of the world, the people they are going to live with, the people they are going to be work with, and the people who are going to be their bosses. That is what Henry Cisneros was talking, said, "You need to prepare for the future, not be afraid of the future." And that was his presentation, do not fear the future. Prepare for the future. I get emotional on this. This is a very important topic. Well, when did the (19)60s begin in your eyes and when did it end?

ES (02:41:47):
Oh boy. I teach a course on the (19)60s, so I would devote at least one class to that. It really varies. I think, you can always say, "Well, let us take the election of Kennedy," but a lot of stuff began earlier, certainly the Civil rights movement is building up from what a civil rights historian called the long civil rights movement from the Second World War on. From the other hand, you can say, "Well, the escalation of the Vietnam War in 1964, (19)65 may have kind of created the more raucous part of the (19)60s." Certainly with regard to say women's issues, it is really not till the, again, sort of the mid-(19)60s that women become much more self-conscious. Betty Freidan, Feminist Mystique is published in 1963. When does it end? And again, I think you have to look at sort of the mid-(19)70s, the oil shock, end of the Vietnam War.

SM (02:43:17):
Was there a watershed moment that stands out above everything else?

ES (02:43:23):
Moments. No one single one I think

SM (02:43:28):
Some people will believe that we are still, well because of the culture wars, (19)60s never ended because of the battles that are ongoing and continue. If you go to the Vietnam Memorial, you see if any of them have still got their problems with those who are in the anti-war movement. And that is just a small segment. But you see the battle within the university that you write so brilliantly about to the two words that stand out is the concept of truth, which was the Western civilization, the truth of Aristotle and Plato and so forth. And then relevance.

ES (02:44:07):
Oh yes.

SM (02:44:08):
Which is, it has got to be relevant to me. Well, what about, we are Western civilization is we got to prepare you as a liberal person. So those are all part of the ongoings. I think we're doing okay timely. Any other thoughts on ...

ES (02:44:27):
Well, I think the country has turned so far to the right since the 1970s that his talk about being under [inaudible] of the (19)60s is just fantasy. But we are living in a very conservative moment in which things that were taken for granted in the (19)60s are deemed totally unrealistic like the fact that the government might be able to do some good and create valuable social programs.

SM (02:45:13):
Yes.

ES (02:45:13):
Nope. That is ...

SM (02:45:14):
The one thing I wanted to ask you because you bring it up in the book, is the fact that the university was, again, Mario Savio said that the purpose of the university is about ideas. So, when the conservative [inaudible], whether it be Mr. Pipes, who many people on our campus cannot stand, they always bring him up. Something about him rubs people the wrong way. Irving Crystal, that group of people. Okay, what am I trying to say here?

ES (02:45:49):
About these cultural conservatives?

SM (02:45:51):
Yeah, the cultural conservatives. I was trying to get to a point here about ... They talk about the thing that we talk about. If truth ... If Savio says that it is about ideas and Dr. Pipe says it is something about truth, what is the difference? Because there are different truths. So, Pipe has a problem with different truths. You raise this in your book.

ES (02:46:22):
Okay. Well, what is weird is that to a certain extent, these people who are bemoaning the loss of that kind of sense of a centeredness and a common culture, which is a common "elite" culture, I often have a particular sympathy for them. Because one of the big fights that I see, and that I think one of the big problems within universities is not so much the content of general education courses, but the fact that, what is it now, I think over 60 percent of all students are there not getting any exposure to it. They are taking occupational therapy, they are taking hotel management, that are not getting exposure to anything that is giving them an ability to think critically about their own lives and about their own culture and their own country. And so rather, the people who are concerned about the denial of absolute truth and how humanism becomes relativist and-and all that, are not dealing with the real problem. And I think they probably do not really care that 70 percent of all college students are studying hotel management because they are elitist. They are only thinking about the top tier of upper class and upper middle-class students who are making it into these highly selective elite schools. They are the students who are going to Williams who are going to Stanford and Harvard and University of Michigan maybe. And the ones who are going to Westchester University, they do not care about. So, I think it is very much a class issue, actually-

SM (02:48:37):
Yeah, access to higher education is one of the greatest accomplishments that I have seen in my lifetime. And to see criticism of affirmative action or multiculturalism and diversity, not only with African Americans, but Latinos and women and gay and lesbian students and transgender, Asian students and Native American, you name it, I cannot understand why people are critical of that. And to be openly blatant about the fact that wanting to go back to the way it was when white America, white middle class America, was basically was the college students of the era just boggles my mind. And that is kind of where we are today.

ES (02:49:22):
Yeah. Well, we are talking about class warfare.

SM (02:49:27):
Right, what Dr. King talked about. We got 30 more minutes. I got one more here. One of the things I wanted to mention too, you probably talk about this in your class, is the generation gap. There was that historic, oh, that is historic, that Life Magazine cover, which I have framed, it was in my office for many years, of the young student that was in blue with his father pointing fingers at him and one eye, and he is pointing fingers back at his dad in the other eye. And it is basically talking about the generation gap between parents of the World War II generation and their kids over culture, over war, a lot of other things. Did you experience that a lot in your own family, number one? And did you see it amongst your peers on college campuses when you were there?

ES (02:50:16):
No.

SM (02:50:16):
And I bring the generation gap up because of the fact that in 1984, there was a book that came out called The Wounded Generation, and there was a symposium made up of veterans like Phil Caputo, Jack Wheeler, Jim Webb, who is now a senator, Bobby Mueller, and James Stahls. And the purpose of the meeting was the fact that Webb brought up, he said that we all think of the boomer generation as a service-oriented generation because of Kennedy's ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. The Peace Corps and giving back. But Mr. Webb said it's anything but. The 60s generation was not about service because if it was about service, they would have gone and served their nation in the Vietnam War. And he said, "So it is as much about the generation gap between parents and their kids, but it is also between the generation itself, those who served and those who did not." What are your thoughts on the generation gap and the intrageneration gap?

ES (02:51:25):
[inaudible]. There is a wonderful book about the people who serve in Vietnam called the Working-Class War. Do you know it?

SM (02:51:33):
[inaudible]

ES (02:51:35):
Christian Appy, A-P-P-Y.

SM (02:51:36):
Okay.

ES (02:51:37):
Wonderful book. And I teach Vietnam and I usually assign it. And basically, the military draft, because of the [inaudible] students [inaudible], meant that the people who were drafted or who volunteered in order to escape the draft came from working class backgrounds, mainly inner-city kids, rural kids. It is the same today. Disproportionately. And middle-class white kids did not serve. Very, very few. I mean, I knew some when I was a graduate student, but there were very few. And so, it is really a class issue here. That is what we are talking about. There were some upper-class kids, John Kerry comes to mind.

SM (02:52:43):
Oh yes.

ES (02:52:44):
Who did, but that is the exception.

SM (02:52:52):
Jim Webb, I almost had an interview with him before he became senator and now it is impossible we can get through to him, but he is very vocal on a lot of subjects. He is responsible for the three-man statute being there because a lot of people did not want it there, including very big Vietnam vets. But is that very strong language that he is using, saying that he condemns the entire generation of, if they are labeled, that service-oriented generation because they did not serve in Vietnam?

ES (02:53:20):
No, it's those of us who opposed the war felt that by working in the anti-war movement, we were doing our service.

SM (02:53:30):
See that that is an important point too that is come up, that some anti-war people have believed that they were veterans too of the war, but in a different way. And when I mentioned that to Vietnam veterans, some of them laugh it off. They said they did not serve in Vietnam.

ES (02:53:46):
No, they did not. But I do not think it is the same thing, but that what they were doing was what they felt was best for the country. And I feel very strongly, I mean, I think Vietnam was absolutely crucial for anybody who lived through the (19)60s, and it was an immoral, terrible war. And whatever anybody could do to stop it, I think was justified.

SM (02:54:19):
What did the universities learn from the (19)60s and (19)70s that they have carried into today? I know that we had new leadership at the top of that university and that many of the presidents of that era have died off. But what did they learn from that period and what have they forgot?

ES (02:54:41):
Well, I think actually ... I think what happened was not so much as they learned things. I think that what happened was by the end of the (19)60s, beginning of the (19)70s, all of a sudden, they are confronted with unprecedented financial issues and they immediately switched to a different mode. When we talk about the corporatization of the American university, what we're really talking about is the fact that from the early (19)70s on, college and university administrations are essentially concerned with financial issues. And that they are doing whatever they can to raise money, to have good relationships with state legislatures, to help their faculty get grants. You have, for example, in 1980, the passage of the Bayh-Dole Amendment, which allows universities to actually profit from the research, the federally funded research that their faculty members have been carrying out. And you get more and more academic administrators behaving not as intellectual leaders or public intellectuals, but as fundraisers.

SM (02:56:28):
That is one of the reasons why I left the university.

ES (02:56:28):
Yeah. And that is-

SM (02:56:28):
Refused to be a fundraiser and link educational programs like the [inaudible] America Conference to Money. I mean, I refuse.

ES (02:56:40):
Yeah, well-

SM (02:56:40):
I knew my time was up.

ES (02:56:41):
Yeah.

SM (02:56:43):
So, you raise a very important point here.

ES (02:56:47):
So, I think whatever concerns they may have had student activism or anything, that was of secondary importance. And they begin to identify with the institution as an institution rather than with the institution as some kind of educational entity or a place for intellectual discourse or for any kind of research other than research that can be measured either in money or in some sort of terms of prestige. The US News and World Report absolutely undermined higher education in that respect.

SM (02:57:30):
It is interesting because the university has been really doing this assessment thing. You got to prove that what you do has value to students. And I would say that we would get instant responses back from students who had been involved in the program, but you cannot assess the importance of a speaker, a forum, a conference on a student immediately. It is something that could impact you years from now. They want instant satisfaction and instant assessment. And I say, you cannot do that in student life. You cannot. You can get your data, but it is just not going to happen. And it's just like, it is amazing. An assessment is everything now, as you well know. Prove it has value. And if you do not prove it immediately, then maybe we will cut it. Would you say that the university is really the main battleground now in America with the respect of the culture wars?

ES (02:58:30):
Yes.

SM (02:58:30):
And maybe this is what frustrates the conservatives more than anything else is they have not been able to get control of it.

ES (02:58:39):
Yes. I think that it is also happening of course, and in the schools as well, the No Child Left Behind Act has been absolutely disastrous with respect to force, again, it is data driven, so they measure what they can measure rather than what might have some intrinsic importance, but cannot be quantified. And so, you have got schools all over the country teaching to the test rather than actually helping students learn. It is not very useful. It is certainly diverting attention, money, and quality education is not occurring.

SM (02:59:34):
You bring up also that the think tanks that have really developed since the late (19)70s, early (19)80s, the Heritage Foundation, groups like that, are basically, because I know I have interviewed quite a few of them, and a couple of them are my friends. I have interviewed Michael Barone and people like that, Marvin Olasky. But the question I want to bring up here is many that went into these think tanks felt that they could not survive in a university, that the liberal university was ostracizing conservative faculty members so for them to truly get their voice, they had to leave the university and join. And of course, the Oland Foundation was the one you talk about to fund them with lots of money to get their point of view out there. This is part the culture wars, this is like-

ES (03:00:28):
Yes. If there were left wing foundations out there, I might leave too. But not because of that, but because who does not want to be well paid to write books? But it's only right wingers who are getting that kind of money.

SM (03:00:47):
And they are the main threat to the universities then today really.

ES (03:00:50):
The only person, I am sure there are others, but the only person I can think of who is sort of a prolific writer on the left who I guess left the university because I know she's got a [inaudible].

SM (03:01:05):
Oh yeah.

ES (03:01:06):
She is obviously supporting herself by her writing, but she is not in a think tank. There are not any.

SM (03:01:13):
Yeah. I interviewed Charles Murray and we all know him, and Christina Hoff Summers, people like that, Bruce Sidell, who fall into that group. Would you consider the Muslim students of today the Communists, the students who were labeled, or faculty members that were labeled as communists in the (19)50s, and African American students in the early late (19)50s and early (19)60s? I am saying we have a xenophobia in this country with, which is a fear of people who are different. And we love the status quo. And whenever it is threatened by any group trying to get access to what other people have, there is resistance. Would you say Muslim students are that way today?

ES (03:02:02):
Yeah, I think there is a kind of demonization that, especially since 9/11, has targeted Muslims and people from the Middle East, no question about it.

SM (03:02:15):
And you see that link between the McCarthy period too and the ostracizing those people who may have been labeled communists and then an African-American student.

ES (03:02:27):
Sure. You have a similar kind of scapegoating going on.

SM (03:02:34):
Well, I only got about six more questions here. Could I use your restroom?

ES (03:02:41):
Sure, yeah. I will show you where it is.

SM (03:02:50):
I have just a listing here, and I am not going to list all these things. I just wrote them out here. But what do you consider the major events in Boomer lives of ... What do you believe, when you teach the (19)60s, some of the major events that really shaped their lives from that period? I have specific events, I do not know if you want me to read them here or list them.

ES (03:03:16):
Well obviously, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. I mean, I think those are the two key ones. And everything else sort of comes out of that, including the women's movement.

SM (03:03:35):
Right. Things that really ... I will read these real fast. Take maybe about five, well, maybe a minute, but I would certainly list McCarthyism in the (19)50s because I am talking about the things that really were historic events in the period of their lives. The Montgomery Bus Boycott in (19)56, Sputnik in (19)57, which was the thrust for education. I think Elvis Presley played a key role because of rock and roll music was the late (19)50s, and he was the precursor of the Beatles, obviously in 64. The election of John Kennedy, Eisenhower's famous statement about the military industrial complex, which there is a great movie out on it. Certainly, the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis, where we almost, boomers, we believed could have ended the world. Certainly, Kennedy assassination, the Gulf of Tonkin, Johnson withdraws from the presidency. Everything in 1968.

ES (03:04:30):
Yeah.

SM (03:04:31):
The assassinations, and the convention, and the trial. Barry Goldwater's rise, which at that time did not seem very big as he was destroyed in the election, but was the beginning of the Reagan period really. Emmy Lai, the bombing of Cambodia in 1970, and Kent State. And then I just had Woodstock in 69, and the Summer of Love in (19)67, the beatniks that I thought were important because of the fact they were anti-establishment, the communal movement, Watergate in (19)73, leaving Vietnam in (19)75. The Carter presidency was important because it was during this time that the rise of the religious right was happening even though he was a Democrat. And the-

ES (03:05:15):
Also, the oil shock.

SM (03:05:16):
Yes, the oil. I remember that.

ES (03:05:18):
I think that is a big thing. That is the moment at which this sort of belief in unlimited economic expansion comes to an end, that you come up against limits, including environmental limits and economic limits.

SM (03:05:34):
Well, that Mỹ Lai speech that he gave too, which he is definitely criticized for giving that, but it was really kind of truthful. And then certainly the Reagan election, Perestroika, the fall of communism, the Gulf War, Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, those kinds of things. And then I add on here, historic events on the colleges, which what happened at Cornell that you so beautifully talk about in your book in (19)69, Jackson State in (19)70, Columbia in (19)69, Harvard Square, Wisconsin, a tragedy there. And then of course [inaudible] college, and San Francisco State, those are all kind of things that stood out amongst the boomers. That is for me, is that a good representation?

ES (03:06:19):
I think so. You have the free speech movement.

SM (03:06:20):
Yes. Yeah, I have that. Did not write it here, but it certainly is in there. And Freedom Summer too, definitely. As a scholar, writer, professor, author, and you were the head of AAUP for-

ES (03:06:34):
No, I was the editor of its magazine.

SM (03:06:37):
Okay. What has been the relationship between faculty and students since (19)46? I bring this up because it is not talked about very much. I went into higher education because I saw the lack of communication that was happening between students and college administrators. They did not trust them. Not one iota. And I was at Binghamton at the time. We trusted faculty, but then faculty were really having some hard times at Binghamton because they wanted to be out of the protests, but they could not be. I remember Dr. Mahaski, who had just come from Berkeley in our social department of Binghamton, he was challenged by the student leadership by saying, "You just graduated with a PhD in Berkeley. We want you over with us united against the recruiting on campus." And he said, "I am not going to do that. I have a job now. I have a little child raise. I am not going to do what I did at Berkeley. I got a job." And then the student had debated him right on the spot and challenged him and actually kicked him out of class. And I will never forget that. That was kind of what was happening. But we had faculty members in our residence hall that were always there for us who would be willing to talk with us about the issues of the day. So as a person who's been a scholar herself, what has been the historic relationship, not between administration and students, but between faculty and students? And specifically, the boomers when they were in college in the (19)60s and (19)70s.

(19) (03:08:14):
You're dealing there ... Oh, that is my husband. Hang on a sec.

SM (03:08:17):
Yep. Yeah, the relationship between students and faculty.

(19) (03:08:30):
All right. It varied on campuses. Younger faculty were often very close to students. And remember in the (19)60s and early (19)70s, the faculty was very young. It's my generation who was lured into ... I mean, they literally threw money at us. Anybody who was a good student, they threw money at us. I did not even think about going to grad school. I was going to become a high school teacher. And I was nominated for a fellowship. And I said to myself, "If I get a fellowship, I will go to graduate school." But I got the fellowship, I had not even applied to graduate school. That would not happen today, to put it mildly. And so, there was just this sort of generation of very young faculty members who were involved in things like teach-ins, that was a big movement in the early days of the Vietnam War. My ex-husband was very much involved with that. He taught Chinese history and anybody who knew anything about Asia would get involved. So, there were faculty activists, they were very split, and I talk about that in my book, about whether they should express their activism the way the students did, participating in demonstrations and sit-ins, or whether they should do it through their intellectual work, through exploring black history or women's history. And I see myself and my work as very much my political work doing through my scholarship, looking at questions of dissent and regression in particular. Mainly because I think that is probably what I do better than anything else so that therefore, it's probably the most effective use of my time in energy.

SM (03:10:48):
My whole career has been about bringing students and faculty together. Because that was my job as [inaudible] program director, director of student programming. And I did it at every university I worked at. I loved to work with the faculty. In fact, faculty never thought of me as an administrator. And that was a positive. They said, "We feel that you are part of us." And that got me in a little trouble at times when I had to take stands that were either faculty stands or administrative stands. And I was really more with the faculty than I was with the administration. But one other thing, a lot of the young people of the late (19)60s, early (19)70s were involved in encounter. And encounter was a very important part of one's graduate education. And you even bring up in your book how a lot of the classes in that period in the (19)70s where the students would sit in the round and they would be able to express their feelings on things. That is what the graduate education was like at Ohio State University in the (19)70s, was encounter. And that is been heavily criticized too, because it was forcing you to speak your mind and you could be vulnerable and you needed support and then sometimes you could be on your own. And so, it was a great lesson for me. And so, it was a great lesson for me. But they do not do that today.

ES (03:12:05):
No.

SM (03:12:05):
It is not part of the training. And I think we were closer to faculty members back then than we are now. Would you agree on that?

ES (03:12:14):
Well, I think what happened was that beginning in the mid (19)70s, beginning a little earlier, in some fields, they stopped hiring full-time faculty members so that there's a lost cohort of academics, of people in their... Really, from their (19)40s and (19)50s, early (19)60s. My generation, many of them have retired, many of my friends have retired. And so, the age difference because of this lost generation, I think, is a problem. I mean, when I was in graduate school, I would not say that, but some of the people who I was closest to, faculty members, were maybe 10 years older than me.

SM (03:13:19):
Yeah.

ES (03:13:19):
That is not a huge difference. But when they are 30 years older, they are another generation.

SM (03:13:24):
And that was my challenge. But I had a little philosophy of never lose the kid in you from Roy Campanella. And my graduate advisor was a PhD at 29 at Ohio State. Dr. Johnson came from the University of Illinois. How important were the students in ending the Vietnam War, in your opinion? A lot of people believe they played an important role. Some say it was just a minor role.

(19) (03:13:51):
They played a role. I mean, can we quantify how important it was? Certainly, they brought a lot of publicity and attention to the anti-war cause, but there were a lot of other people. Basically, for a lot of that period, I was just a faculty wife. I was not really active as an academic. A lot of people like me, ordinary citizens, plus of course you have to count the Vietnamese they beat. They were crucial, I think. And needed the Americans.

SM (03:14:31):
Yeah. When you teach your course on Vietnam, and what is the reason why we lost the war, what is the reason we lost that war?

ES (03:14:40):
Because we could not win it. The way that the American government defined victory was an independent non-communist South Vietnam. That did not exist. And so, the only way we could win the war was not to lose it. And the only way that we could not lose it, was by maintaining a massive American military presence. And that turned out to be politically impossible. So that was that.

SM (03:15:16):
And that is what the Vietnam Syndrome really comes in too, because now when George Bush says the Vietnam Syndrome is over, I mean, really? And still influences foreign policy and certainly over where we are in Afghanistan today. Do faculty today overall support the university as a vehicle for uplifting all races? This was a quality that really came about during the '60s and '70s. Where are the faculty today, liberal and conservative, with respect to, what is the purpose of a university?

ES (03:15:51):
Oh man, that is a tough one. To begin with, 70 percent of the faculty are what we call contingent faculty members.

SM (03:15:59):
Adjuncts.

ES (03:16:00):
They are adjuncts or people on short term contracts who have no chance of tenure. There is only 30 percent and shrinking of tenured and tenured track faculty members. So, I mean, that is absolute most important fact to know about higher education today, which is that the, what we would call the casualization of the faculty. And so, when you talk about faculty, you are talking about people who are living usually very desperate lives. Or else a lot of faculty, especially in more vocationally oriented programs, are people whose primary identification is as a practitioner in some other field than higher education. In other words, they are teaching part-time, but they are basically accountants who teach one course in accounting at a community college. They are counted as faculty, but they do not probably identify themselves as faculty. And that is very important. And so, when you are talking about core faculty members, that is not the main group now teaching in American universities. So, for traditional faculty members, how do they view the mission of the university? They are under enormous pressure, especially if they do not have tenure yet to produce, because it is such a competitive atmosphere. In my field, you cannot... At most schools now, you have to have a book. It is crazy.

SM (03:17:53):
Before you are even hired. Yeah.

ES (03:17:56):
In some cases, yeah. But at least for tenure, you need a book. And the pressure is for people now in literary studies, and Modern Language Association did a survey of tenure practices and claimed that people needed not just a book, but sufficient progress on a second book to get tenure. And so, the bar keeps rising. Same thing for scientists. They have to get grants. And it is increasingly more difficult to get grants than it used to be. In the good old days in the (19)60s, they threw money at people. Now, even very well-known scientists often cannot get their research funded. And so, the pressures are on people to get grants to work in areas that are going to be popular, that are going to be... And for scientists and engineers, often, these are fields in which there is more corporate influence, biomedical stuff, electronic things like that.

SM (03:19:21):
One of the questions I have asked everyone from day one when I interviewed Senator McCarthy, the late Senator McCarthy, and that is, do you feel that the boomer generation has an issue with healing like the civil war generation that went to his grave, not truly healed? I bring this question up because in 1995, I took a group of 14 students in our leadership on the road program to meet Senator Edmund Muskie. I knew Senator Nelson. And so, we were able... We met 14 former United States senators. And we were very lucky because Senator Muskie just gotten out of the hospital, actually died four months later. But he gave us two hours. And one of the questions the students came up with is, they were not alive in 1968, but they had seen the video and they wanted to know... They saw the divisions, the terrible divisions of America, assassinations, police and young people fighting each other, riots in the street, burnings and so forth. And they wanted to know if the generation, their parents' generation were going to go to their graves, not truly healed because of the tremendous divisions of the time. And they asked him this question. And is healing an issue in this generation? Do you feel that is an important issue when you teach the (19)60s? Because the Vietnam memorial was... The inscriber wrote, "To heal a nation," which was trying to heal the Vietnam veterans and their families. But I think he wanted to also try to heal the nation in some way through the wall that heals.

ES (03:20:55):
Yeah. It is an interesting question. It is not one I have looked at, mainly because when I teach the (19)60s, by the end of the semester, I am rushing through it. So, I never get to any final summing up and looking at that kind of issue. So, I am not really sure. Sometimes, certainly it is in the rhetoric of some of these people who are still blaming (19)60s radicals for anything that went wrong in the country. But I do not know whether, at a sort of grassroots level, it is still a large issue or not. I have a feeling that the economic issues that began to surface after (19)74 and the sort of transformation of the economy and the squeeze on the middle class has really... People are not thinking in terms of the (19)60s anymore. But I could be wrong. I do not know.

SM (03:21:55):
Yeah. Muskie answered in a way the students were not even expecting. He basically said that we have not healed since the Civil War over the issue of race. And he had just seen the Ken Burns series on TV, and he had come on in the hospital and he gave a lecture on all the 600,000 who had died in the Civil War. And almost an entire generation. He did not even mention the '60s. And here's a man who was the vice-presidential candidate in Chicago. Students looked at each other and were shocked, but that is where he was coming from. The issue of race has not healed.

ES (03:22:27):
No, it has not.

SM (03:22:30):
And I think I raised the question because when you go to the Gettysburg Battlefield, you will see a statue there. The last person alive who served in the war. And he died in 1924, something like that. And then when you go to the Vietnam Memorial, I interviewed Jan Scruggs. He thinks there are many that were anti-war that come to that wall with their kids and regret that they did not serve because it was the watershed event of the era. And those who may have been against the war would not change feelings. But many of the boomer generation had brought their families there and some of their kids that said, "Dad, what did you do in the war?" So that kind of... Would you say also the lack of trust is in an important quality within the boomer generation? They just were not a trusting generation. They all saw all these leaders lie to them.

ES (03:23:20):
Yeah. Well, sure. There was an enormous amount of hypocrisy and deceit. I think there always has been. Franklin Roosevelt lied.

SM (03:23:34):
Yeah. Eisenhower lied on you too. Sure.

ES (03:23:37):
I mean, Roosevelt essentially pushed the United States towards the Second World War. We supported that war. So, the fact that he was doing a lot of covert stuff, military stuff, we overlooked because it was the good war. But that is what politicians do.

SM (03:24:00):
Would you say this lack of trust though, is a positive quality? Because in political science 101 class, you are always taught that you need to challenge your government, never take anything for granted. And so, it is actually a good quality, not a bad quality.

ES (03:24:13):
I think so. But the problem is that it is very hard for people to get information. What we are seeing is a lot of government secrecy, an enormous amount of government secrecy. It is really increased exponentially. One of the things I am looking at in my current work.

SM (03:24:35):
And down to my final, actually, three questions.

ES (03:24:38):
Okay, because I am going to have to leave you.

SM (03:24:39):
Could you define the term counter culture in your own words?

ES (03:24:45):
Well, it is a very specific moment in American life in the late (19)60s and early (19)70s, mainly of young people who are sort of sloughing off a kind of easy, materialistic set of values that had been fairly prevalent in American society. And seeking, through drugs and music, through communal living, through political activism, a whole kind of new... the word lifestyle, but that is really what we are talking about, a new set of values.

SM (03:25:28):
Could you define culture wars?

ES (03:25:31):
Oh yeah. That is something that... I ordinarily do not believe in conspiracies, but I have got this document from the early (19)70s that was written by the future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, who was advising-

SM (03:25:50):
Oh yes. That was from the book. Yeah.

ES (03:25:51):
.... advising a friend in the Chamber of Commerce up there, how to deal with quote unquote " liberal academics" who were supposedly poisoning their students against the corporate sector. And what you see is a well-funded, very well-funded attack on whatever social movements and ideas came out of the (19)60s.

SM (03:26:23):
What are your thoughts on these two books? Because Clark Kerr's Uses of the University was a classic book, and he was about the free speech movement. And I think Ernie Boyers, The College and the Undergraduate Years is just a treasure. He was in the [inaudible], and I had a chance to meet him and briefly know him. Your thoughts on those two scholars and the meanings of their work?

ES (03:26:49):
Poor Clark Kerr, again, apparently during the free speech movement, and I have read his memoirs, I have been on programs with him and stuff. He is very evasive. He is a labor negotiator. He believes you get everybody together in a room and things will work out. And I think he was completely blindsided by how rigid the sort of conservative from the board, among the regents were, and how ideological the students were. Really just could not deal with it. He was an end of ideology person.

SM (03:27:48):
Oh, yeah. Daniel Bell, I interviewed him. I saw him before he died.

ES (03:27:53):
Yeah. And Boyer's stuff, I do not know as well. I mean, I know what stuff he did on the quote unquote "scholarship of teaching," and clearly, he wanted to emphasize research at the undergraduate level, which is part of this competitive trust within the American Academy.

SM (03:28:21):
Would you say that the best books that were written were the boomers at the period, late (19)60s, early (19)70s were books like The Culture of... Well, actually, Culture of Narcissism was the late (19)70s. The End of Ideology was Daniel Bell's book in the early (19)60s. And then you had Theodore Roszak’s book, the Making of a Counter Culture, and then you had The Greening of America by Charles Wright. Those are all major pieces to me in over a 20-year period of critique of the generation. And do you agree? Do you think they are all valid works?

ES (03:29:05):
I never read most of them. It only actually was interesting only when I got into doing this most recent book, did I read Bloom.

SM (03:29:12):
Oh, yes.

ES (03:29:13):
Which was the book. It was a bestseller. I owned it, but I have never read it. So, I read it and discovered all kinds of things in there. But a lot of these iconic books, I have a feeling, do not get read.

SM (03:29:30):
I interviewed Daniel Bell, who was not well, and of course he's passed away. And I was up at Harvard. It was a thunderstorm. And then there is this old house right near the Theological seminary up there.

ES (03:29:42):
Yeah, I know.

SM (03:29:44):
And I am in that area there. And his wife is upstairs, a machine keeping her alive, and he has got a maid working for him. And he is not well. But when I asked that question about Roszak and Wright. Garbage, garbage, they were not intellects. And then I said, "What did you think of Kenneth Keniston's Youth and Dissent?" That was a good book. So, it was interesting in talking... Who were the most influential scholars, presidents, teachers who shaped the university during the time that boomers were, or any time after World War II?

ES (03:30:26):
Yeah. Oh, Marcuse, obviously. And then I think, and I am not sure I could even name them all, it is the people who began doing stuff or in Vietnam who began looking at American foreign policy.

SM (03:30:48):
Chomsky? Yeah.

ES (03:30:50):
Yeah, but I was doing history, so I am sort of thinking of the revisionist scholars.

SM (03:30:59):
Oh yeah.

ES (03:30:59):
I am thinking of people, Herb Gutman, and people who were doing social history, very important in my field. EP Thompson, the British historian, was crucial. Looking at working class history. It may be different in different fields, I am thinking, not just in terms of the general culture, but in terms of the intellectual history of specific fields.

SM (03:31:32):
And this is kind of a two-part question. Who were the winners in the (19)60s and (19)70s in higher ed or even in society? And who were the losers? And secondly, who were the heroes of the boomers? Were there winners and losers in the (19)60s and (19)70s?

ES (03:31:48):
I was going to say that is not the kind of a question that I would have asked or that I think I can give an answer to. Who were the losers? Lyndon Johnson? Richard Nixon? But I do not know that anybody won.

SM (03:32:10):
And the heroes?

ES (03:32:13):
Oh, people like King, obviously. Bob Moses or Smith, Mario Savio. I think to a certain extent, Bobby Kennedy, who was a very charismatic figure. I mean, what always struck me about Bobby Kennedy was how much he was able to change.

SM (03:32:43):
Well, yeah, he was...

ES (03:32:45):
From this sort of tough guy enforcer in his early career to somebody who really was reaching out. Fannie Lou Hamer. It is sort of the same pantheon of figures, mainly in the civil rights movement, which I think, at least for me, was really just so exemplary in so many ways.

SM (03:33:17):
I do have one more question and that is, did the boomers become the most unique generation in history? Did they change the world for the better as they said they were going to do when they were young? And I know that I actually met with some of my former peers at my undergraduate school, and they still feel the way they did back in the (19)60s. They feel that the generation did a lot to make the world better. But look at the word we are living in. So, just your thoughts. And the boomer generation is still, they are 65 at the oldest now, and they're going into all senior citizens, period. So, they still got-

ES (03:33:57):
They are still out there.

SM (03:33:58):
Yeah, they are still out there. But for the first 65 years, what can you say about them?

ES (03:34:03):
Well...

SM (03:34:05):
Did they change the world for the better overall?

ES (03:34:08):
George W. Bush did not. I think it is mixed. Very mixed.

SM (03:34:15):
Yeah. I know that the only two boomer presidents have been Clinton and Bush, but actually Obama was a boomer, but he was only two.

ES (03:34:25):
Yeah.

SM (03:34:25):
Finally, the last thing, I am done, but I wanted to read this and if you had any comment, just comment.

ES (03:34:31):
Okay.

SM (03:34:31):
And finally, we know only about 5 percent of the 17 million became activists in the (19)60s and (19)70s. Some use the statistic that most young people were not active or linked to causes as a negative. However, this still adds up to many millions. And my question is this, for those who were active, whether be conservatives or liberals, do you feel they were very different in a positive way with respect to caring about equality, justice, freedom of speech, respect for differences, wanting to make the world a better place to live? Or was it all about, as some of their critics say, a generation that was selfish, not selfless. They avoided the draft in any way possible. Plus wanted instant satisfaction via demands due to their being brought up in the (19)50s as spoiled kids who were given everything by their depression era parents. This applies to white middle class students, but also eventually to the African American students and students who lived in poverty because they were also making demands, but for different reasons.

ES (03:35:52):
Well, you know what? My answer would be that clearly these people, there were real social problems. There were real... The Vietnam War was a major problem, and people were motivated to take action for very idealistic reasons. It did not turn out well in every case, but I do not think these people are self-interested. It is a mixture because people, they are human.

SM (03:36:20):
Was there any question I did not ask you, you thought I was going to?

ES (03:36:22):
No, that was very good.

SM (03:36:23):
Great. Any final comments?

ES (03:36:23):
Nope. Thank you very much.

SM (03:36:23):
We can [inaudible] more pictures.

ES (03:36:23):
Okay.

SM (03:36:30):
And then if you could sign three books too.

ES (03:36:31):
Okay.

SM (03:36:31):
This one's all marked up.

ES (03:36:35):
Okay. I will be right back.

SM (03:36:37):
Okay.

ES (03:36:37):
Okay. Tomorrow I will be...

SM (03:36:37):
Do you want me to go ahead?

ES (03:36:37):
Yeah [inaudible].

SM (03:36:44):
[inaudible] Okay. I will do that.

(End of Interview)

Date of Interview

2011-05-19

Interviewer

Stephen McKiernan

Interviewee

Ellen Schrecker

Biographical Text

Dr. Ellen Schrecker is a scholar, professor emerita of American History at Yeshiva University and has received a fellowship at the Tamiment library in NYU. In addition, she is considered a leading expert on McCarthyism and has taught at various prestigious universities including Princeton, New York University, and Columbia.

Duration

217:19

Language

English

Digital Publisher

Binghamton University Libraries

Digital Format

audio/mp4

Material Type

Sound

Description

2 Microcassettes

Interview Format

Audio

Subject LCSH

College teachers; United States—History—1945-1953; Tamiment Library; Yeshiva University; Schrecker, Ellen--Interviews

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Keywords

Baby boom generation, College in the 1960s; Vietnam War; Anti-war movement; Thomas Reeves; McCarthyism; Civil rights movement; Activism

Files

mckiernanphotos - Dr. Ellen Schwecker.jpg

Item Information

About this Collection

Collection Description

Stephen McKiernan's collection of interviews includes more than two hundred interviews with prominent figures of the 1960s, which were collected between the mid-1990s and 2010s. The collection provides narratives of people who were actively involved in or witnessed events in the 1960s, an era which spurred profound cultural and… More

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Citation

“Interview with Dr. Ellen Schrecker,” Digital Collections, accessed June 17, 2024, https://omeka.binghamton.edu/omeka/items/show/942.