Upton Sinclair and the Other American Century
Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle a hundred years ago — a book that caused a sensation by exposing America’s meatpacking industry and that created the Meat Inspection Act of 1906, one of the boldest extensions of federal power ever. Was Upton Sinclair the Michael Moore of his day? Or even the Woodward and Bernstein? Kevin Mattson presents an exploration of this complex crusader in Upton Sinclair and the Other American Century. The decline of muckraking journalism will certainly be in the news as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Jungle .
Sinclair used his fame for good causes but also fell prey to the foibles of American celebrity culture, from his support of World War I to his run for governor of California in 1934. His life was fascinating for anyone who wants to understand the possibilities and challenges of political reform today.
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Kevin Mattson, Professor, Ohio University and Author of Upton Sinclair and the Other American Century
Michael Kazin, Professor, Georgetown University and Author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan
Opening Remarks by:
Neera Tanden, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Center for American Progress
Monday, May 22, 2006
Program: 12:30 P.M to 1:30 PM
Lunch will be served at 12:00 PM
Admission is free.
Center for American Progress
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Kevin Mattson is Connor Study Professor of Contemporary History at Ohio University and serves as a faculty associate of the Contemporary History Institute. At Ohio University, he teaches courses that focus on 20th century American intellectual and political history. He is author of Upton Sinclair and the Other American Century (2006); When America Was Great: The Fighting Faith of Postwar Liberalism (2004, 1st edition, 2006, 2nd edition); Engaging Youth: Combating the Apathy of Young Americans Towards Politics (2003); Intellectuals in Action: The Origins of the New Left and Radical Liberalism, 1945-1970 (2002); and Creating a Democratic Public: The Struggle for Urban Participatory Democracy During the Progressive Era (1998). Additionally, he is co-editor of Liberalism for a New Century: Reflections on the Past and Future of an Idea (2007); Steal This University!: The Rise of the Corporate University and the Academic Labor Movement (2003); and Democracy’s Moment: Reforming the American Political System for the 21st Century (2002). He has written essays on a variety of topics for the New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, The Nation, The American Prospect, Common Review, The Baffler, and Chronicle Review. He has also appeared on Fox News and NPR. He is presently an affiliated scholar at the Center for American Progress and is active in the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). He serves on the editorial board of Dissentmagazine.
Michael Kazin teaches history at Georgetown University and writes about American history and politics. His books include A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan, America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s (with Maurice Isserman), The Populist Persuasion: An American History, and Barons of Labor. He contributes regularly to Dissent, The American Prospect, The Nation, The New York Times, and other publications.
Neera Tanden is the senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the Center for American Progress. Prior to joining the Center, she was Legislative Director for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). Neera also served in the White House under President Clinton as the senior policy advisor to the First Lady and associate director in the Domestic Policy Council. She graduated from UCLA and received her law degree from Yale Law School.
The American Prospect was founded in 1990 as an authoritative magazine of liberal ideas, committed to a just society, an enriched democracy, and effective liberal politics. Robert Kuttner, Robert Reich, and Paul Starr launched the magazine initially as a quarterly. Since then, the Prospect has grown into a monthly magazine with a paid circulation of 55,000, a special in-depth report in most issues, and a daily Web magazine with more than 300,000 monthly visitors. Its mission, simply put, is to rise to the momentous occasion that confronts all Americans who seek a just society built on our greatest traditions. Contemporary conservatism stands to thwart those traditions; it advances its agenda by way of stealth, fear-mongering, and a massive propaganda apparatus. It is the Prospect’s mission to expose that agenda and the lies that support it.
New America Foundation brings exceptionally promising new voices and new ideas to the fore of our nation’s public discourse. Relying on a venture capital approach, the Foundation invests in outstanding individuals and policy ideas that transcend the conventional political spectrum. Through its Fellowships and Policy Programs, New America sponsors a wide range of research, writing, conferences, and events on the most important issues of our time. The New America Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy institute that was conceived through the collaborative work of a diverse and intergenerational group of public intellectuals, civic leaders, and business executives. New America’s founding President and CEO is Ted Halstead, and its Board of Directors is chaired by James Fallows. Based in our nation’s capital, the Foundation opened its doors in January 1999.