Tag Archives: SUNY Albany

Tour an Archaeological Site in Schoharie


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Schoharie Archealogical digThe New York State Museum and the University at Albany are hosting an annual open house of an active archaeological dig site in Schoharie where more than 300,000 artifacts have been uncovered in the past decade.

The site is the home of an eight-week archaeology field school where undergraduate and graduate students preserve and catalog artifacts, which ultimately become part of the Museum’s collections. Continue reading

Researching NY History Conference Seeks Proposals


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Researching NY ConferenceThe organizers of Researching New York 2015 are inviting proposals for presentations on any aspect of New York State history – in any time period and from any perspective.The conference meets annually in November, bringing together historians, archivists, public historians, graduate students, museum curators, teachers, documentarians, and more to share their work on New York State history.

They are encouraging proposals that explore the diverse communities of New York – their histories and how they are gathered, preserved, and presented –  whether considering the question of “what is a community?” or the experiences of specific communities. Continue reading

Researching New York Conference Begins Today


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Researching NY ConferenceThe 2014 Researching New York conference, “Identities in New York: Imagining, Constructing, Exploring,” is being held today and tomorrow (November 20-21, 2014) at the University at Albany.

Researching New York is one of two major conferences held annually for New York State’s history community. The New York History Blog will have a table in the exhibitor area, stop by for a visit. Continue reading

Researching New York Conference Details Announced


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Researching NY ConferenceThe 2014 Researching New York conference, “Identities in New York: Imagining, Constructing, Exploring,” will be held November 20-21, 2014 at the University at Albany.

This year’s conference will feature Richard Norton Smith who will present “On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller” on Thursday evening. The keynote luncheon address on Friday will be “The Making of a Myth: Seneca Falls Unraveled” by Lisa Tetrault of Carnegie Mellon University. On Friday afternoon a live performance by the Capital Repertory Theatre of “The Workers of the Erie Canal: They Built America” will take place in UAlbany’s Performing Arts Center. Continue reading

Researching New York Conference This Week


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Researching NY ConferenceThe Researching New York Conference is this week. The conference is being held Thursday and Friday, November 14-15, 2013 at the University at Albany. This is one of two major history conferences in New York State held each year. The New York History Blog will take part in the “History Showcase” in the Exhibit Area (Barnes & Noble Reading Room) between 3:15 – 4:OO PM on Thursday. Two free and open to the public talks will be featured on Thursday and Friday evenings.

A new speaker has been added for lunch on Friday. Clarence Taylor of Baruch College will discuss “Northern African-American Religious Communities and the Civil Rights Struggle of the Twentieth Century”. The complete conference program and attendence information, available through this link, includes more than 25 panels and featured events that examine a wide array of topics on New York State history including many responding to the conference theme, Religion in New York, by exploring how religion, religious practice, and expressions of spirituality are infused in the history of New York State. Continue reading

Researching New York Conference Details Now Online


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Researching NY ConferenceDetails for the upcoming Researching New York Conference are now available. The conference will be held Thurs.-Fri., November 15-16, 2013 at the University at Albany.

Featured events include a two talks. On Thursday evening Robert Orsi, author of The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950 (1985), will present “The Gods of Gotham: Religion and the Making of New York, 1800 to 1950″. On Friday afternoon Howard B. Rock, author of Haven of Liberty, New York Jews in the New World, 1654-1865 (2012), will present a talk entitled “A Momentous Encounter: Reform Judaism Challenges Orthodoxy in 19th Century New York.” Continue reading

Bob Weible: Is NYS History Month Dead?


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poster1997lgIt’s true.  November is New York State History Month.

In 1997, New York’s legislature added Section 57.02 to the state’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Law and 1) designated November as New York State History Month, 2) defined the purpose of the month as the celebration of state history and the recognition of the contributions of state and local historians, and 3) authorized the Education Department to undertake projects to recognize the month (while the legislation failed to identify any specific projects, it did suggest student essay contests as one possibility). Continue reading

Researching New York Conference Call For Papers


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Researching NY ConferenceThe organizers of Researching New York 2013 invite proposals for presentations on any aspect of New York State history from any time period and from any perspective. The conference will take place on November 14 and 15 on the University at Albany campus, Albany, New York.

This annual conference brings together historians, archivists, public historians, graduate students, teachers, documentarians, and multimedia producers, to share their work on New York State history. Especially encouraged are submissions that reflect on the long and complicated history of religion in New York, including the intersections of religion and church history with the secular, civic, and public life of its citizens. Continue reading

Albany Film Screening of ‘Thirst: A Civil War Story’


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thirstThe New York State Museum will host the upstate premiere of the 30-minute film Thirst: A Civil War Story (2013) on Saturday, May 11 from 1pm to 3pm in the Huxley Theatre.

The film is presented as part of the Museum’s exhibit An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War, a 7,000-square foot exhibition commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War (on display through September 22). The free screening will be followed by a panel discussion with cast and crew. Continue reading

Celebrating 30 Yrs of Albany’s Public History Program


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PH30 Registration PktThe University at Albany’s Public History Program will be hosting “History Lives!”, a conference celebrating 30 years of the University at Albany’s Public History Program on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at the New York State Museum from 9:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

This one day conference / celebration will commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Public History Program with networking and a wide variety of session presentations by the program’s outstanding alumni. Continue reading

Doing Better Than A ‘Path Through History’


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nycapitolThe recent posts on the role of the municipal historians and the Path through History project have touched a nerve, several actually, as reflected in the emails I have received. Great!

There are serious issues which need to be addressed and few if any forums for discussion. It is astonishing how many people in the history community are not aware of the Path through History project or who have already given up on it on being anything credible – “an elegant show,” “the fix is in,” “I never heard of it.” In this post, I would like to share some things which are being done and suggest some things which should be done. Continue reading

New York State Author, Poet Named


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Governor Cuomo has announced the appointments of Marie Howe to serve as the 10th New York State Poet and Alison Lurie as the 10th New York State Author.  Howe and Lurie will serve from 2012 to 2014.

“Marie and Alison represent the rich talent and diversity that New York has to offer,” Governor Cuomo said. “Both of them have inspired New Yorkers all across the state, and their works are major assets to us all. They are truly deserving of this honor, and hopefully their great work will now reach a new and even wider audience.”

Donald Faulkner, Director of the NYS Writers Institute, and ex-officio chair of the review committee for the Walt Whitman Award for State Poet of New York, said, “Seldom have I encountered a poet with such a sense of honesty, intimacy, and candor in her work. Marie Howe writes with refreshing openness about love, loss, and redemption. Hers is a voice that will continue to grow in its magic and sheer bravery.”

William Kennedy, Executive Director of the NYS Writers Institute, and ex-officio chair of the review committee for the Edith Wharton Award for State Author of the State of New York, said, “Alison Lurie is a wise and masterful teller of tales that often center on marital strife, domestic disorder, and academic absurdity–comedies of manners of our time but with a deeply human strain. She is a superior prose stylist with a wickedly satirical talent.”

About Marie Howe, New York’s 10th State Poet:

Marie Howe succeeds Jean Valentine as NYS Poet and joins a long line of distinguished poets who have served in the position, including Billy Collins, John Ashbery, Sharon Olds, Jane Cooper, Richard Howard, Audre Lorde, Robert Creeley, and Stanley Kunitz.

Marie Howe said, “I’m honored, surprised, and delighted by this news. New York State has been my life long home: the rivers, the ocean, the maples, the old dismantled elms … I’ve grown up in love with the voices that have been singing from this land: the gorgeous din: the poets who have spoken and the poets to come.”

Marie Howe is the author of three books of poetry and is co-editor of a highly-praised anthology of writing on AIDS. Her poetry is widely admired for seeking answers to metaphysical questions in ordinary day-to-day experience. In Howe’s work, little incidents and inconsequential memories help to shed light on the nature of the soul and self, life and death, love and pain, sin and virtue.

Howe’s first collection, The Good Thief (1988) was selected by Margaret Atwood for the National Poetry Series. In making her selection Atwood described the poems in the volume as “intensely felt, sparely expressed, and difficult to forget; poems of obsession that transcend their own dark roots.” Howe’s second book, What the Living Do (1997), is an elegy to her brother who died of AIDS. Publishers Weekly named it one of the five best poetry collections of 1997. Howe’s third collection, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (2008) was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

In 1994 Howe published an anthology (coedited with Michael Klein) In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic, which presents a wide range of voices speaking out on the impact of the disease.

Born in Rochester, Howe worked as a reporter for a Rochester newspaper and taught high school English before taking up poetry as a serious pursuit at the age of thirty. She is a member of the writing faculty at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the recipient of the Lavan Younger Poets Prize of the American Academy of Poets as selected by poet Stanley Kunitz in 1988, and National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellowships.

Of her work, Stanley Kunitz, the first named State Poet of the State of New York, wrote, “Marie Howe’s poetry is luminous, intense, and eloquent, rooted in an abundant inner life. Her long, deep-breathing lines address the mysteries of flesh and spirit, in terms accessible only to a woman who is very much of our time and yet still in touch with the sacred.”

The advisory panel that recommended Howe as state poet included poets Sydney Lea (Poet Laureate of the state of Vermont), poet Mark Doty, former state poet Jean Valentine, and poet and Writers Institute Director, Donald Faulkner.

For more information on Marie Howe, visit www.mariehowe.com

About Alison Lurie, New York’s 10th State Author:

Alison Lurie succeeds Mary Gordon as NYS Author and joins a group of eminent authors who have served in the position, including Russell Banks, Kurt Vonnegut, James Salter, Peter Matthiessen, William Gaddis, Norman Mailer, E. L. Doctorow, and Grace Paley.

Alison Lurie said, “I am delighted and honored by this award from the state where I have spent most of my life, a state that has been the home of so many great writers as well as enthusiastic and dedicated readers.”

Alison Lurie is the author of ten novels, a short story collection, and several children’s books and works on nonfiction. She is widely regarded as the Jane Austen of contemporary American letters for her nuanced understanding and lifelike portrayal of social customs and the relationship between the sexes. Lurie’s witty and satirical novels examine middle class life, particularly of characters from an academic milieu in small college towns. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt declared in the New York Times that Lurie “has quietly but surely established herself as one of this country’s most able and witty novelists.”

Lurie is best known for her novels The War Between the Tates (1974), which was hailed as a classic of its time and place, and Foreign Affairs (1984), which received the Pulitzer Prize. Her other acclaimed novels include Love and Friendship (1962), Real People (1969), The Last Resort (1998) and Truth and Consequences (2005).

A champion of children’s literature, Lurie has also written both children’s books and scholarly nonfiction works examining the importance of children’s literature to global literacy and culture.

Lurie grew up in White Plains, NY and graduated from Radcliffe College. She taught at Cornell University from 1968 until her retirement as the Frederic J. Whiton Professor of American Literature in 1998.

The advisory panel that recommended Lurie as state author included the present laureate, novelist Mary Gordon, novelists Dave Eggers and Lorrie Moore, and novelist and Executive Director of the New York State Writers Institute, William Kennedy.

For more information on Alison Lurie, visit www.alisonlurie.com.

About the State Poet and Author:

The State Poet and Author are selected for two-year terms by the NYS Writers Institute, located at the University at Albany, SUNY. The choice for State Author and Poet is based on a substantial body of work of notable literary merit.

The NYS Writers Institute of the State University of New York, located at the University at Albany, was established as a permanent state-sponsored organization through legislation signed into law in 1984. The Writers Institute provides a milieu for writers, both renowned and aspiring, from all over the world to come together for the purpose of instruction and creative exchange.

In 1985 the governor and state legislature empowered the Institute to award the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit for Fiction Writers (State Author) and the Walt Whitman Citation of Merit for Poets (State Poet) to authors whose career achievements make them deserving of New York State’s highest literary honors.

Upon the recommendation of two advisory panels of distinguished writers convened under the aegis of the Institute, the governor awards the citations every two years to one fiction writer and one poet of distinction. Throughout their two-year terms the state laureates promote and encourage fiction writing and poetry throughout New York by giving public readings and talks within the state. The State Author and Poet are not paid, and there is no cost to the state for the designation.

NYS Poets and their terms of service are listed below.

  • Jean Valentine, 2008-2010
  • Billy Collins, 2004-2006
  • John Ashbery, 2001-2003
  • Sharon Olds, 1998-2000
  • Jane Cooper, 1995-1997
  • Richard Howard, 1993-1995
  • Audre Lorde, 1991-1993
  • Robert Creeley, 1989-1991
  • Stanley Kunitz, 1986-1988

NYS Authors and their terms of service are listed below.

  • Mary Gordon, 2008-2010
  • Russell Banks, 2004-2008
  • Kurt Vonnegut, 2001-2003
  • James Salter, 1998-2000
  • Peter Matthiessen, 1995-1997
  • William Gaddis, 1993-1995
  • Norman Mailer, 1991-1993
  • E. L. Doctorow, 1989-1991
  • Grace Paley, 1986-1988

More information on the NYS Poet and Author and the NYS Writers Institute can be found at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/

Photos: Alison Lurie (left) and Marie Howe. 

Researching NY Conference Call For Papers


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The organizers of the 14th annual Researching New York Conference invite proposals for panels, papers, workshops, roundtables, exhibits, and documentary and multimedia presentations on any aspect of New York State history -in any time period and from any perspective. Researching New York brings together historians, archivists, museum curators, graduate students, teachers, documentarians, and multimedia producers, to share their work on New York State history. Presentations that highlight the vast resources available to researchers, as well as scholarship drawn from those resources, are encouraged. This year’s conference will be held November 17th & 18th, 2011 at the State University of NY at Albany.

Anniversaries are a means to recall, celebrate, or commemorate significant milestones in history. Often forgotten is what came next. Examining the aftermath of momentous events in both the short and long-term enlarges historical understanding, whether viewed from a political, cultural, social, legislative, or other perspective. 2011 marks a number of anniversaries: 9/11, the Attica Prison Uprising, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, and the beginning of the Civil War, among others. For Researching New York 2011 we encourage submissions that not only explore how we remember, commemorate, and create meaning from these and other notable events in New York State history, but that also consider what came next.

Proposals are due by July 1, 2011. Complete panels, workshops, media presentations, or sessions are preferred; they will consider partial panels and individual submissions. For complete sessions please submit a one-page abstract of the session, a one page abstract for individual presentations, and a one-page curriculum vita for each participant. For individual submissions, include a one-page abstract and one-page vita. Submissions must include name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Please submit electronically to resrchny@albany.edu. All proposals must detail any
anticipated audiovisual needs or time constraints. All conference participants are expected to register for the conference.

They also seek commentators for panels. If you would like to comment on a panel, please contact us at resrchny@albany.edu, indicating your area of expertise, along with a one-page vita.

For additional details and future conference updates, visit the Researching New York website.

Researching New York is sponsored by the University at Albany History Department and History Graduate Student Organization and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust.

Rare Maps of the American Revolution in the North


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The 1776-1777 Northern Campaigns of the American War for Independence and Their Sequel: Contemporary Maps of Mainly German Origin by Thomas M. Barker and Paul R. Huey is the first, full-scale, presentation in atlas form of the two, abortive British-German invasions of New York – events crucial to understanding the rebel American victory in the War for Independence. The book includes 240 pages with 32 full-color illustrations.

The bulk of the maps are from the German archives. The material has previously been little used by researchers in the United States due to linguistic and handwriting barriers. The volume includes transcriptions, translations, and detailed textual analysis of the naval and land operations of 1776 and 1777. It is written from a novel military-historical perspective, namely, British, German, loyalist, French Canadian, and First American.

The attack of Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery on Québec City, the colonial assailants’ repulse and withdrawal to the Province of New York and the Hudson River corridor, prior actions in the adjacent St. Lawrence-Richelieu river region of Canada, the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain, the forts at Crown Point and Ticonderoga, and the Battles of Bennington and Saratoga all receive detailed attention. The last section of the atlas deals with the less known, final phase of combat, in which the Britons, Germans, refugee tories, Québec militia, and Amerindians kept the insurgents off balance by mounting numerous small-scale expeditions into New York.

The significance of the publication is highlighted by Russell Bellico, author of Sails and Steam in the Mountains: A Maritime History of Lake George and Lake Champlain. He writes that Barker’s and Huey’s tome is “a superb work of scholarship based on exhaustive research on both sides of the Atlantic.” J. Winthrop Aldrich, New York State Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation, states that the maps “are of significant help now as we continue to build our understanding of what happened in our war for independence, and why. This rediscovered treasure and the illuminating commentary and notes superbly advance that understanding.”

Dr. Thomas M. Barker is emeritus professor of history, University of Albany, State University of New York at Albany. He is the author of numerous books about European military history, especially the Habsburg monarchy, Spain, World War II as well as ethnic minority issues. Dr. Paul R. Huey is a well-known New York State historical archeologist and also has many publications to his credit. He is particularly knowledgeable about the locations of old forts, battlefields, colonial and nineteenth-century buildings, and/or their buried vestiges. He works at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation Bureau of Historic Sites office on Peebles Island in Waterford, New York. The book is co-published with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

2010 Researching NY 12th Annual Conference


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Researching New York: Perspectives on Empire State History, an annual conference that provides a forum for the exploration of all aspects of New York State history, in all time periods and from diverse perspectives, will be held this Thursday and Friday, November 18th and 19th.

The conference brings together historians, researchers, archivists, public historians, librarians, teachers, museum curators, filmmakers, and documentary producers — all to share their interest and their work in New York State History.

From its inception, Researching New York has highlighted the integral relationships between researchers and archival sources, encouraging presentations that highlight
the vast resources available to researchers as well as the scholarship drawn from those sources.

The Conference will be held on the University at Albany Uptown Campus. Registration will take place in the Science Library, Barnes & Noble Reading Room. This year we also have off-site sessions at the New York State Museum. As noted on the Conference schedule, transportation will be provided to conference attendees. While there is no
additional cost, you must reserve a space when you register. For conference updates, directions, maps, and information about local hotel accommodations, visit the Researching New York website.

Conference registration is $50.00 including all featured events, lunch and receptions. Advance registration is requested. Please be sure to include your name, institutional affiliation, and e-mail address with your check and also note if you would like to reserve a seat on the bus to the Museum. Send any questions or comments to resrchny@albany.edu.

A Celebration of William and Henry James


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The contributions of William and Henry James will be highlighted at a presentation entitled At the Gateway to Modernism: A Celebration of William and Henry James on Wednesday, Nov. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the University at Albany. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Standish Room of the Science Library on the uptown campus.

Renowned author Henry James and his brother William, a psychology professor and philosopher, had many ties to the Albany area, according to Associate Professor of English Mary Valentis, who organized the event as director of the Center for Humanities, Arts, and TechnoScience (CHATS). “Many of the James family relatives are buried in Albany Rural Cemetery,” she said. “The father graduated from the Albany Academy, and the grandfather made his fortune in Albany real estate.” Henry James even opened his story, Portrait of a Lady , in a brownstone on Albany’s State Street.

The significant works and pivotal thought of the two brothers helped shape the 20th Century and more particularly the intellectual, artistic, and philosophical moment now called modernism.
Henry and William James

Author Henry James and his brother William, a psychology professor and philosopher.

The panel of experts celebrating the James family will include:

• Professor Ronald A. Bosco, Distinguished Professor of English and American Literature at UAlbany,

• Professor Linda Simon of Skidmore College, and

• Dean of UAlbany’s College of Arts and Sciences Edelgard Wulfert, professor of psychology.

The celebration will extend to the spring semester, when on March 4, 2011, Henry James on the Stage will be featured at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center. From 3 to 5 p.m. on that day, Dr. Barbara Blatner, Yeshiva University Workshop, will do an adaptation of Henry James’s short stories for poetry and stage. From 7 to 10 p.m. that same evening, there will be a staged reading of Larry Lane’s new play inspired by Henry James’s Aspern Papers. Playwright and director Lane adapted Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener for stage. After the reading, theater goers will have an opportunity to talk with Lane.

Photo: Author Henry James and his brother William, a psychology professor and philosopher.

Researching New York 2009: 400 Years of Exploration


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The annual Researching New York Conference, entitled 400 Years of Exploration: The Hudson – Champlain Corridor and Beyond, will take place today and tomorrow (November 19th and 20th). What follows is the conferences free and open to the public featured events, and even those who cannot attend the conference will find the Thursday evening sessions at the State Museum, as well as the Friday plenary session, interesting. Both those events are free and open to the public.

The full conference program is available in the History Department and at http://nystatehistory.org/researchny/rsny.html. Questions may be directed to resrchny@albany.edu. UAlbany student/faculty registration for the entire conference and the lunch is $20.00.

Thursday, November 19 (at the State Museum)

4:00-5:00 pm:

Library Manuscripts and Special Collections/Archives Open House, 11th Floor

The New York State Archives, www.archives.nysed.gov, and the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections, http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/mssdesc.htm, share the 11th floor of the Cultural Education Center. Examples from both collections will be on
display; staff from both institutions will be available to give overviews of their collections and answer questions. Limited to 30 people, registration requested. Call (518) 408-1916 to reserve a spot. Walk-ins are welcome if space is available.

State Library Workshop, 7th Floor Computer Classroom

Library staff will demonstrate navigating the Library’s website, http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/research.htm, including the services and electronic resources available to researchers. Sheldon Wein and Cara Janowsky will also demonstrate how to find and access items in the Library’s digital collections. Limited to 19 people, registration requested. Call (518) 474-2274 to reserve a spot. Walk-ins are welcome if space is available.

5:00-6:00 – Gallery Talks

The scholars and museum professionals who were integral in the creation of these exhibits will lead talks in the respective galleries.

“1609” – Charles Gehring, The New Netherland Project, New York State Library

“Through the Eyes of Others”: African Americans & Identity in American Art – Gretchen Sullivan Sorin, Cooperstown Graduate Program

“This Great Nation Will Endure:” Photographs of the Great Depression – Herman R. Eberhardt, Supervisory Museum Curator, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum

7:00 PM – LECTURE

The Future of History in the Empire State – Kenneth T. Jackson, Columbia University

Kenneth T. Jackson is one of the country’s leading scholars in American history. Currently the Jacques Barzun Professor of History and the Social Sciences and Director of the Herbert Lehman Center at Columbia University, Jackson has for years championed the importance and excitement of New York State history. His influential 2006 essay “But It Was in New York: The Empire State and the Making of America” challenged historians to convince their “fellow citizens that today’s America took shape in yesterday’s New York.” Expanding on that theme, Professor Jackson will examine subsequent events–including the Hudson-Champlain Quadricentennial, planning for the New York State Museum’s proposed permanent exhibition on state history, the creation of
the New York Academy of History, new public school curricula, and more-as he challenges us to look to the future of New York’s history.

The discussion will be moderated by Jeffrey Cannell, Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education, New York State Department of Education.

Friday, November 20

12:00 LUNCH/KEYNOTE, Campus Center Ballroom **

“Seeing with Explorers’ Eyes and Finding the Wild in the Hudson Valley” – David Stradling, University of Cincinnati

(** NOTE: For those who would like to hear Stradling, but not registering for lunch, seating available at 12:30 PM.)

For 400 years European and American explorers – from Henry Hudson to modern urban tourists – have traveled through the Hudson Valley. Stradling examines how the perceptions of these explorers have influenced public policy, especially preservation and conservation, in an attempt to explain why this heavily populated region still appears to be so wild. His publications include Making Mountains: New York City and the Catskills and Smokestacks and Progressives: Environmentalists, Engineers, and Air Quality in America, 1881-1951.

3:30 PM CLOSING PLENARY

The Tappan Zee Bridge: Transforming Rockland County

The Tappan Zee Bridge: Transforming Rockland County chronicles the dramatic changes that the Tappan Zee Bridge brought to Rockland County, transforming a quiet, rural farming community to a sophisticated New York City suburb. It tells the story of the bridge, through rare photographs, drawings, blueprints, and oral histories from workers- those who were relocated, or otherwise affected by the construction of
the bridge and the NYS Thruway extension. Funded in part with a “Preserve America” grant from the Federal Parks Service in partnership with the County of Rockland, and Rockland County Tourism, the film is a part of the larger Tappan Zee Project of the Historical Society of Rockland County, which also includes teacher’s guide, museum exhibition, and companion book.

Completed in 1955, this three-mile link between New York’s Westchester and Rockland Counties was a response to the post-war housing shortage, our national love affair with the automobile, and the power of the American dream. A replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridges in the planning stage, making it imperative that we preserve the tumultuous
story of this historic bridge and how it brought both immigration and heritage tourism to Rockland County-and is part of the larger story of suburbanization in America. The Project also offers a window into the value of local historical collections, innovative public history projects, and ways to tell stories from the archives.

Annmarie Lanesey, MZA Multimedia, Troy, NY Gretchen Weerheim, The
Historical Society of Rockland County

Comment: Sheila Curran Bernard, University at Albany, SUNY

NYS Writers Insitute 25th Anniversary Celebration


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To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the New York State Writers Institute, former New York State Governor Mario Cuomo and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin will join Institute Executive Director William Kennedy and Director Donald Faulkner on stage to reminisce about the Institute’s past, celebrate its present, and discuss its future. A short video about the Institute highlighting memorable guests and events from its 25 year history will also be screened [you can see some early video samples here]. In addition the Institute will announce the first selections in its list of “25 Uniquely New York Books,” as chosen by 25 renowned New York state writers. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Monday, November 16, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. in Page Hall, 135 Western Ave., on the University at Albany’s downtown campus.

In 1984, Governor Mario Cuomo signed into law the legislation creating the Writers Institute, giving it a mandate to provide “a milieu for established and aspiring writers to work together… to increase the artistic imagination.” Since then the Institute has hosted over 1,000 visiting writer appearances, screened over 400 films, and presented dozens of writing workshops, symposia, and special events, making it one of the premier literary arts organizations in the country.

The video presentation will provide an overview of the history of the Institute, its founding, and growth over the past 25 years. Included will be clips of such memorable guests as Margaret Atwood, Shelby Foote, Joyce Carol Oates, David Sedaris, Hunter Thompson, and Kurt Vonnegut.

“As part of our 25th anniversary, we have invited 25 renowned New York writers to choose their favorite book about New York—state or city,” said Institute Director Donald Faulkner. “Books that focus on New York themes and landscapes have impacted readers for generations. We thought it would be appropriate to draw attention to some of these books to provide a glimpse of the enormous literary traditions that this state and its authors have to offer. This is not intended to be a ‘best of’ list, but a distinctive and slightly unconventional guide to reading more deeply into the spirit of the Empire State,” Faulkner explained. The first ten selections will be released on November 16, with the remaining 15 titles announced throughout the next several months.

Mario Cuomo, one of the great orators and intellectuals of 20th century American politics, served as the 52nd Governor of the State of New York from 1983 to 1994. He has also published several notable books, including political diaries, collections of speeches, and two books on Abraham Lincoln— most recently, “Why Lincoln Matters: Today More Than Ever” (2004). In advance praise, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. called the book, “A thoughtful and challenging meditation on what Lincoln’s wisdom tells us we Americans should be doing today and tomorrow.”

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, author of bestsellers about Lyndon Johnson, the Roosevelts, and the Kennedys. Her newest book is “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” which, by many accounts, helped shape President Obama’s political philosophy. A former professor of government at Harvard University, and assistant to President Lyndon Johnson, Doris Kearns Goodwin appears frequently as a political commentator on network and public television. A long-time friend of the Institute, she has made three previous appearances as a Visiting Writer (in 1991, 1995 and 2005). She is currently researching her next book which is set partly in Albany— a new biography of Teddy Roosevelt.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.