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Researching Activism at The New School

This guide provides suggestions for approaching historical research concerning activism at The New School throughout its history.

Archival Collections

Below are archival collections, periodicals held in The Archives, and oral history interviews that may be helpful for researching activism at The New School in the 1980s-1990s.

Contact for assistance with accessing any of these collections.

David C. Levy records

Consists of records created, received, and maintained by David C. Levy, dean of Parsons School of Design from 1970 until 1989. Contains correspondence, reports, proposals, and subject files on issues including accreditation, affiliate schools, academic departments, and general administrative topics. Included in Dean Levy's records is documentation on the protests surrounding an exhibition of Japanese graphic designer Shin Matsunaga's work at Parsons. You can read more about this in the Offense and Dissent website.​

Ann Snitow faculty records

Records kept by New School faculty member Ann Snitow, largely documenting her activities in connection with the evolving status of gender studies courses and programs at The New School at the graduate and undergraduate level. This collection contains documentation on activism concerning race and gender at The New School.

Jo Townson Collection of Mobilization Papers

Material created and assembled by New School alumna Jo Townson in the course of her activism with the Mobilization for Real Diversity, Democracy, and Economic Justice in the mid-1990s. The Mobilization was a student-led protest movement at The New School during the 1996-1997 academic year. 

Mark Larrimore faculty records

These files relate primarily to the First Year program at Eugene Lang College, which Larrimore directed, while other materials reflect Larrimore's teaching as a member of the Religious Studies faculty. Includes a file on the 1996-1997 Mobilization around diversity issues at The New School.


Locally published periodicals are a great resource for researching activism here on campus as well as activism that New School students, faculty and staff may have participated in off-campus. All of the periodicals listed below are available in the New School Archives by appointment. Titles in red have been scanned and are available online through our Digital Collections site. Unfortunately, we are missing many issues of student publications, so we do not have complete runs of all the titles below.

  • ParsonsPaper, 1976-1990  -- This long-running Parsons School of Design student newspaper has been digitized and is fully available online. Click on the title to access it through our Digital Collections site
  • Re/Press, 1982
  • Seminar College Newsletter (pre-Eugene Lang College), 1983
  • Insight Out (Eugene Lang College student newspaper), vol. 1 no.1-2, 1985-1986
  • Students of the New School Graduate Faculty Newsletter, 1988-1996 -- This newsletter was re-named rant + rave in 1996, and later became Canon journal. This is the longest running publication by students for students at the university and is published by graduate and doctoral students of the New School for Social Research.
  • Bang!: The Eugene Lang College Paper, 1990-1991
  • The Language (Eugene Lang College student newspaper), 1991-1998
  • Disorientation or Welcome (The New School Coalition for Accessible Education), 1995
  • rant + rave, 1996-1997 -- This journal was re-named Canon in 1998.
  • The Observed (cross-divisional), Volume 1, No. 1, 1997 Aug/Sep
  • Students for Informed Social Action (Eugene Lang College Volunteer Resource Center), undated [maybe 1990s?]

Oral Histories

The New School Archives has supported several projects and ongoing programs to identify and interview individuals who can contribute to the documentary record through their personal experiences. Many of the oral histories touch upon activism at different points in time. Oral history recordings are available on our Digital Collections site, both in transcript form and as sound recordings.

  • Activism at The New School oral history program - includes interviews with students and faculty who participated in the Mobilization for Real Diversity, Democracy, and Economic Justice. 
  • Interview with Celeste Lacy Davis - Lawyer Celeste Lacy Davis discusses being hired by The New School in the late 1990s to establish diversity programs at the university. In this interview, she also talks about participating in radical civil rights activism in the 1960s-1980s.
  • Interview with Linda Dunne - A professor and administrator at The New School. In her interview, Dunne discusses the Mobilization of 1997 and the hunger strike that was a part of these protests.
  • Interview with Ann Snitow - A longtime member of the faculty at Eugene Lang College and one of the founders of the gender studies department. In this interview she talks about the struggle to establish and maintain a gender studies program at Lang, and student protests over race and gender in the 1990s.


Footage from Mobilization Protests and Forum

Depicts protests and other actions from the 1996-1997 Mobilization for Real Democracy, Diversity, and Economic Justice. At least some of this video was shot by Laura Poitras, then a student in the Media Studies program at The New School, and became part of the documentary "New School Struggle." This documentary is available on YouTube: Part 1 and Part 2.