A Sit-In at the Library: ’68 Revisited

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A Sit-In at the Library: ’68 Revisited

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November 26, 2018
The Graduate Center Mina Rees Library
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Photo by Paul Klee. From the Collection of Paul Cronin.

Monday, November 26
The Graduate Center Mina Rees Library
1:00pm – 8:30pm + 6:00pm Performance
FREE + Open to public. All Welcome

In 1968, the student body emerged on the global scene as a cohesive revolutionary movement fighting alongside oppressed people in India, East and Western Europe, South and North America, and articulating a new political horizon.

50 years later, what remains of that emancipatory promise? Is there such a thing as a student body today, or should students be seen as individual investors in the knowledge economy? What are the contemporary meanings, stakes, and privileges of being a student? Which coalitions and networks of solidarity are maintained by students, and which are avoided or neglected? What political possibilities does a “student” status afford today, and what possibilities should it afford?

To promote a reconsideration of such questions, and as a critical homage to the 1968 sit-ins and alternative modes of congregation, the Mina Rees library at the CUNY Graduate Center will rearrange its ground floor and open its doors to the general public to share the space, sit together, talk, perform, meet and listen.

The Sit-in at the Library is a free, public and loosely curated forum that welcomes public participation and engagement. We invite you to shape the day with your ideas, questions, writings, screenings, teach-ins, or acts.

The event will be followed by a 6:00pm performance of The Fall by Sister Sylvester.

The Fall (2018) is a deconstructed film-screening based on Peter Whitehead’s cult 1969 film, The Fall. Shot in New York during the collapse of the protest movement, The Fall began as a fiction film, but quickly changed course as Whitehead found himself inside Columbia University during the student occupation and subsequent police attacks. Denied release because potential backers found the film too violent, Whitehead’s experiences making the film caused him to reject the social efficacy of art, quit film-making, and move to the highest mountain in Saudi Arabia to breed falcons. The film, however, followed its own path, finding its way to Greece during the student movement which led to the overthrow of the Junta, and to Iran during the university led movement which became the revolution. The Fall stages a film- lecture/screening that presents Sister Sylvester’s original research into this story, and questions the relationship between art and social action.

Photo by Maria Baranova.

Sister Sylvester makes work, often essayistic performances, using first hand research and found documents. Sister Sylvester invite disruption into both the performance and the process, and look for dissonance and difficulty in text, image, and sound.



Organized by Doctoral Students of Theatre and Performance Amir Farjoun, Cory Tamler and Mara Valderrama.

Additional support from Doctoral and Graduate Students’ Council.


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