Monthly Archives: December 2012


Darryl Pinckney and Morris Dickstein. Photo credit: Joel E. Cohen

Saskia Hamilton hosted a local meeting of ALSCW on December 13 at Barnard entitled “Fictions of Fiction”. The scholar-critic Morris Dickstein (a former president of ALSCW) spoke about “My Life in Fiction”, a memoir of growing up as a reader, from boyhood infatuation with stories about history and sports, to the adolescent’s discovery of complex plot and language in Dickens, to the young man’s passion for Conrad, James, Joyce, and Kafka. The novelist and essayist Darryl Pinckney read from the first chapter of his novel High Cotton, which brings fully to life the character of the black preacher-intellectual grandfather as seen by his resistant grandson. In exhilarating and rich diction and in sentence rhythms that bound over ditches and fences and swerve unexpectedly, Pinckney’s prose is a performance of a high order.

The combined offerings of Dickstein and Pinckney provoked an hour of vivid discussion in which everyone participated, and which no one seemed to want to arrest. We had to call a halt at 8 p.m. –RW

Morris Dickstein is Distinguished Professor of English and Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center. His most recent books are Leopards in the Temple, a study of postwar American fiction, A Mirror in Roadway, a collection of literary essays, and Dancing in the Dark, a cultural history of the Depression era, which received the Ambassador Book Award in American Studies and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism.

Darryl Pinckney, a long time contributor to The New York Review of Books, is the author of a novel, High Cotton, and, in the Alain Locke Lecture series, Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature. He is at work on a study of African American literature in the twentieth century.

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ALSCW in the Press: A Review of FORUM 5

Diane Ravitch reviews the ALSCW’s new publication Forum 5: What is Education? A Response to the Council on Foreign Relations Report, “U.S. Education Reform and National Safety” here:
Forum 5 may be downloaded as a pdf here.
The CFR study may be downloaded here.

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Letter From the President Concerning New Membership Rates

December 1, 2012

Dear ALSCW member,

I hope this busy season finds you well.

I am happy to report that the ALSCW is busier than ever. Local meetings and association-sponsored events abound. Literary Imagination is thriving under editors Saskia Hamilton and Archie Burnett. The latest issue of Forum, just out, addresses a recent study by the Council on Foreign Relations that raises fundamental questions about the nature and purpose of education reform. Plans are well underway for the nineteenth annual conference, to be held in Athens, GA, April 5-7 (with a reading and reception the night of April 4). In addition to a stellar slate of panels and seminars, this year’s meeting will feature a top-drawer blues band, Scrapomatic, performing at the president’s reception on Friday night. I do hope you can join us.

We are pleased that you have belonged to the association this past year and hope we can count on your support in the future. Please visit our website ( for a renewal form that you can either complete online or print and mail in. You will notice that we have reduced the types of membership to four—Premium, Regular, Senior, and Reduced—and that there has been a modest increase in fees across the board. The executive council voted for this change at its October meeting in an effort to meet our ever-increasing financial demands. Since this is the first time in a very long time that our rates have increased, we trust that you will understand the necessity. Membership rates in our association are still one of the best bargains in the business.

Best wishes for a happy and safe holiday season,

Sarah Spence
President, ALSCW

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