Archie Green: The Making of a Working Class Hero

A talk by Sean Burns

Respected as one of the great public intellectuals of the twentieth century, Archie Green (1917-2009), through his prolific writings and unprecedented public initiatives, profoundly contributed to the philosophy and practice of cultural pluralism. For Green, pluralism was the life source of democracy — an essential antidote to authoritarianism of every kind. His activist and intellectual quest was fueled by a generative tension between the political ideologies that animated his life and helped shape his era — New Deal liberalism, anarcho-syndicalism, and pragmatism. This talk explores the relationship between his formative political experiences at home, at school, and at work during the “Age of the CIO” and his subsequent development of “laborlore” as a public-oriented interdisciplinary field. Green is best known for his spirited and unflagging lobbying of Congress in support of the American Folklife Perservation Act of 1976 — legislation that paved the way for the creation of the American Folklife Center.

In 2000, Green founded the Fund for Labor Culture and History. This talk will draw from the substantial oral histories that Burns recorded with Green — interviews which provide the foundation for Burns’ biography, Archie Green: The Making of a Working-Class Hero (2011).

Archie Green & Sean Burns

Sean Burns is a Berkeley, California-based writer, teacher, and musician. His primary research interests are in the culture and history of left social movements, particularly questions of how movements generate transformative social imagination and translate that vision into effective local-global initiatives. Burns leads the popular, indie-folk rock band Professor Burns and the Lilac Field.

May 1, 2012, 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm
Mary Pickford Theater, 3rd Floor
James Madison Building
101 Independence Ave. SE
James Madison Building, LM 336
Washington, D.C. 20540-4690