Daniel A. Sherwood
Ph.D. candidate, The New School for Social Research
Expected Completion: May 2013
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)
"Civic Struggles: Jews, Blacks and the Question of Inclusion at The City College of New York, 1930-1975"
Areas of Expertise: sociology of race and ethnicity; sociology of citizenship; culture and power; social theory
My dissertation, "Civic Struggles: Jews, Blacks and the Question of Inclusion at The City College of New York, 1930-1975", is a cultural sociological analysis of 20th century transformations in educational citizenship at The City College of New York. Popularly remembered as the "proletarian" or "Jewish Harvard," because of the prevalence of working class Jews of Eastern European descent in the student body of the first half of the 20th century, City College is understood both in the scholarly and popular imaginations as a central symbol and living reality of America's perceived openness; it is thought of as a shining example of America's exceptionally liberal citizenship regime and political culture. In reality, City College's history has continuously been marked by an ongoing struggle between different student groups, faculty, administrators and the governing structures of the city and state of New York over student and faculty rights to free speech, academic as well as political freedoms, anti-Jewish and anti-black racism, and general questions of who belongs at City College and what the meaningful benefits of a City College degree should be. More than just an uncommon gateway to upward mobility, City College has persistently served as a stage for significant struggles over the very meaning and structure of American citizenship.
Specifically my dissertation connects two significant events that each transformed educational citizenship at City College. First, I examine the Knickerbocker-Davis Affair, a little remembered event at City College that culminated in a 1949 general student strike. The strike united various factions of the student body, usually deeply divided between political liberals and political leftists, behind the demand of the firing of William Knickerbocker, a professor accused of anti-Semitism, and William Davis, a professor accused of Jim-Crowism. Second, I examine the Open Admissions Crises of 1969, wherein the occupation of the South Campus by an organized group of black and Puerto Rican students, who were protesting their underrepresentation at the college, led to the radical expansion of access to admission for all graduating high school seniors in the city of New York to one of the CUNY campuses. I analyze these two significant events by examining the roles played by ethnic and racial identities and meanings as well as how students, administrators and other state actors imagined and enacted culturally constructed visions of citizenship throughout the political controversies. I also place them in time by connecting them to the changing structure of higher education in the postwar U.S. and its shifting function in American life.
As a Teaching Fellow at The New School for Public Engagement in 2006, I have taught "The Sociology of Race," this fellowship was renewed in the fall of 2007 and the fall of 2008. It was also renewed in the summer of 2008 when I taught a course "Identity and Identity Politics." At Eugene College, The New School for Liberal Arts I taught a class titled "Domination and Resistance," also as a Teaching Fellow, in spring of 2007. And, as an Adjunct Lecturer at Baruch College from 2005 to present, I have taught "Introduction to Sociology," "Social Movements," "The Sociology of Race," "Sociological Theory," and they have twice entrusted me with their capstone course, for which I taught a course titled "Citizenship and Higher Education in the U.S., the Case of The City College of New York."
Daniel A. Sherwood
Department of Sociology
The New School for Social Research
6 East 16th Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10003