What They Said - at Sarah Lawrence last semester
February 8, 2006 Reading sponsored by the graduate writing program; excerpt from her article “Taking the Veil”
Djamila was a young Muslim woman in France whom I not only liked so much, but I also had a strong interest in what I’d have to call “saving her.” “At the age of twenty, [she] had donned not only a black head scarf but a billowy black abaya... It hasn’t been easy for Djamila. She left her first job, as a teacher’s aide, after parents complained that a woman in veils was not a good role model for little girls. She went for job interviews and was always turned down. But her robes got longer and more concealing. People swore at her in the Métro. Strangers accused her of carrying bombs in her book bag. Once, when we were leaving a Paris café, a man at the next table reached up and stroked her robe, though, it being a Left Bank café, he said ‘Chic!’ and she said, ‘Thank you.’”
Jane Kramer is European correspondent for The New Yorker and prize-winning author of nine books. She is also a member of The Council on Foreign Relations.
February 15, 2006 “Childhoods Lost: Stories from Young Soldiers,” sponsored by Global Studies and the Office of Multicultural Affairs
Sri Lanka, where the Tamil Tigers have been at war with the government for 24 years, is unique in one respect: most of the Tamil Tigers are girls and women. There are male commanders, but it’s mostly girls who are in uniform, carrying cyanide capsules and AK-47s. The Tigers see girls and women as the best fighters. They don’t allow them to be raped or molested or assaulted in any way. If you do so, justice is swift: it’s an automatic death sentence.
Jimmie Briggs is a freelance journalist and former reporter for Life magazine whose book, Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go to War, was published in 2005.
February 8, 2006 “The Psychodynamics of Grief and Mourning,” sponsored by the Senior Seminar in Cultural Studies: Mourning, Text, Memory
Mourning is a success-a successful relationship to a lost object. Freud would say it is only possible starting in adolescence. A British theoretician, John Bowlby, developed attachment theory by studying little babies in hospitals. Their parents would go away and he videotaped the babies’ reactions; he discovered what he thought was mourning. The babies would mourn the loss of their parents so successfully that, when the parents came back after a few days, the babies would refuse to welcome them-as though they had successfully rid themselves of their parents. Bowlby called that ‘mourning’; that is, a successful loss of the object.
Dr. Donald Moss is a psychiatrist and practicing psychoanalyst, and on the faculty of NYU. In 2004 he published Hating in the First Person Plural: Psychoanalytic Essays on Racism, Homophobia, Misogyny, and Terror.
March 24, 2006 Eighth Annual Brendan Gill Lecture, “Defining Moments in History,” sponsored by the Bronxville Historical Conservancy
We are more open now than in the 1950’s, for better or for worse-and I think generally for better-about who we are and our contradictions. We’re more volatile; we’re freer. What we all really want is to hold on to the personal freedoms we have now in the new century; but we want our neighbors to behave as they did in the 1950’s.
Historian and author David Halberstam won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Vietnam War, and later produced critical studies of its origins, including The Best and the Brightest. He has also written about baseball, the Detroit auto industry and the 1950’s. He is currently finishing a book about the Korean War.