is similar to a general educational forum on any complicated issue, usually an issue involving current political affairs. The main difference between a teach-in and a seminar
is the refusal to limit the discussion to a specific time frame or a strict academic scope. Teach-ins are meant to be practical, participatory
, and oriented toward action. While they include experts lecturing on their area of expertise, discussion and questions from the audience are welcome, even mid-lecture. "Teach-ins" were popularized during the U.S. government's involvement in Vietnam
. The first teach-in, which was held overnight at the University of Michigan
in March 1965, began with a discussion of the Vietnam War draft and ended in the early morning with a speech by philosopher Arnold Kaufman[clarification needed]
The first teach-in
The concept of the teach-in was developed by anthropologist Marshall Sahlins
of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor during a meeting on March 17, 1965. Previously, around 50 faculty members had signed onto a one-day teaching strike to oppose the Vietnam War.
About a dozen of these faculty members, including William A. Gamson
, Jack Rothman
, Eric Wolf
, Arnold Kaufman
, and Roger Lind, reconsidered the strike and gathered to discuss alternative ways to protest the war in the face of strong opposition to the strike from the Michigan legislature and governor as well as the university president.
The New York Times Magazine
summed up how Sahlins arrived at the idea: "They say we're neglecting our responsibilities as teachers. Let's show them how responsible we feel. Instead of teaching out, we'll teach in—all night."
The term teach-in
was a variant of another form of protest, the sit-in
. Later variants included the die-in
, lie-in, and draft card turn-in.:37
This first teach-in was organized by faculty and Students for a Democratic Society
at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor on March 24–25, 1965.:37
Michigan governor George Romney and other politicians still opposed the event.
The teach-in was attended by about 3,500 people and consisted of debates, lectures, movies, and musical events aimed at protesting the war.
Michigan faculty members such as Anatol Rapoport
and Charles Tilly
were also involved. Women students who attended received special permission to stay out during the night. Bomb threats emptied the hall three times over the course of the teach-in, sending participants into the freezing cold, where they continued their activities. Other Michigan students in the Young Republicans organization picketed the event, protesting "anti-American policy."
The teach-in ended the next morning, concluding with a 600-person rally on the steps of the library.:108
Subsequent antiwar teach-ins
UCLA Vietnam Day Committee leaflet promoting its 25 March 1966 antiwar teach-in
The Michigan teach-in received national press, including an article published in the March 25, 1965 issue of the New York Times
It went on to inspire 35 more teach-ins on college campuses within the next week. By the end of the year, there had been teach-ins at 120 campuses.:108
Antiwar teach-ins were held until the end of the Vietnam War. These included:
- Columbia University, March 26, 1965
- University of Wisconsin, April 1, 1965
- University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, and Temple University (coordinated), April 7, 1965
- Rutgers University, April 23, 1965
- Boston University, May 5, 1965
- National Teach-In (televised), Sheraton Park Hotel, Washington DC, May 15, 1965
- U.C. Berkeley, May 21–22, 1965
- Kent State University, spring 1965
- Harvard University, spring 1965
- Goucher College, spring 1965
- Marist College, spring 1965
- Principia College, spring 1965
- Flint Junior College, spring 1965
- Case Western University, spring 1965
- Berkeley, October 15, 1965
- UCLA, March 25, 1966
- New York University, March 30, 1971
- First Congregation Church, Washington, October 25–26, 1971
- Brandeis University, April 1975
Not all college students at the time were antiwar protesters, however. At many teach-ins, pro-war students showed up to protest or signed letters of support for college administration, including at Kent State University, the University of Wisconsin, and Yale University.:108
Teach-in at U.C. Berkeley
The largest Vietnam teach-in was held on May 21–22, 1965 at U.C. Berkeley
. The event was organized by the newly formed Vietnam Day Committee (VDC), an organizing group founded by ex-grad student Jerry Rubin
, Professor Stephen Smale
, and others. The event was held on a playing field where Zellerbach Auditorium is now located. Over the course of 36 hours, an estimated 30,000 people attended the event.
The State Department was invited by the VDC to send a representative, but declined. UC Berkeley professors Eugene Burdick
and Robert A. Scalapino, who had agreed to speak in defense of President Johnson's handling of the war, withdrew at the last minute. An empty chair was set aside on the stage with a sign reading "Reserved for the State Department" taped to the back. :91–94
Faculty participants included Professor Staughton Lynd
(Yale); Professor Gerald Berreman
; and Professor Aaron Wildavsky
. Performers included folk singer Phil Ochs
; the improv group The Committee
; and others. The proceedings were recorded and broadcast, many of them live, by Berkeley FM station KPFA. Excerpts from the speeches by Lynd, Wildavsky, Scheer, Potter, Krassner, Parris, Spock, Stone and Arnoni were released the following year as an LP by Folkways Records, FD5765.
An online archive, including recordings and transcripts of many of the participants, is maintained by the Library of the University of California, Berkeley.
Scrutiny and surveillance
As part of the antiwar movement
at the time, teach-ins were regarded by the FBI (then directed by J. Edgar Hoover
) and the Lyndon B. Johnson administration as potentially dangerous to national interests. At a teach-in organized by the Universities Committee on Problems of War and Peace, 13 undercover agents attended and identified students, faculty, speakers, and activists by name and affiliation, passing the information to the FBI.Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page).
This report stated, "In reality, the great majority of teach-ins (there were a few notable exceptions to this rule) have had absolutely nothing in common with the procedures of fair debate or the process of education. In practice, they were a combination of an indoctrination session, a political protest demonstration, an endurance contest, and a variety show." The study claimed that teach-ins were a form of Communist activity, noting that "people of known Communist background were frequently involved.":xii
Legacy of antiwar teach-ins
"[The] stroke of genius out there in Michigan ... put the debate on the map for the whole academic community. And you could not be an intellectual after those teach-ins and not think a lot and express yourself and defend your ideas about Vietnam." —Carl Oglesby
, organizer at the 1965 University of Michigan teach-in and then-president of SDS, quoted in The War Within,
"The 1965 teach-ins were significant, in fact, more because of their very organization than for their novelty or the extent of student protest. They legitimized dissent at the outset of the war. The vacuum of understanding which they exposed created a market for information. … Moreover, the 1965 teach-ins served to identify a coterie of academic experts who challenged national policy, helped to make connections among them, and established them as an alternative source of information and understanding." —An American Ordeal: The Antiwar Movement of the Vietnam Era,
"In raising anti-war consciousness in the nation as a whole, far beyond the academic community, the teach-ins were an historic turning point in the politics of the Vietnam War. ... This liberal bias of the teach-in movement, however, was one of the too-many-reasons-to-recount-here why the academic community lost its leadership role as fast as it had gained it. Part of the problem was that as soon as the teach-in movement politicized the counterculture, the latter began to counterculturalize the politics. Hence the tension between the political and the carnival in the student left as it moved from liberal protest to radical resistance and campus violence... Alienated by the left students’ tactics, the largely liberal anti-war public reverted to traditional modes of protest, although the marches and demonstrations were now massive in scale, varied in social composition and increasingly joined by establishment politicians." —Marshall Sahlins in Anthropology Today
Teach-ins were one activity of the New Left
. Students, faculty, and other activists involved in the teach-ins would go on to organize other antiwar protests, including the 20,000-person rally at the Washington Monument in April 1965.:25
Teach-ins have continued through the decades since 1965 in response to other national crises, including climate change.
In the 1990s activists began a new series of teach-ins focused on the corporatization of education
and on corporate power
generally. These began under the name of the 'National Teach-Ins on Corporations, Education, and Democracy' in 1996
and continued on as the 'Democracy Teach-Ins
' (DTIs) of 1998, 1999, 2001, and 2002. Leading activist and intellectual figures of the 1990s, including Cornel West
, Richard Grossman
, Naomi Klein
, and Vandana Shiva
spoke at the Democracy Teach-Ins, which were coordinated in their first years by Ben Manski
. The Democracy Teach-ins were coordinated on hundreds of campuses at once, and were intended to build campus-based networks of pro-democracy activists. The 1999 Democracy Teach-Ins, in particular, played a role in mobilizing students for the 1999 Seattle WTO protests
; the 2002 teach-ins played a similar role in preparing for the 2003 national Books Not Bombs
student strike. After 1998, the DTIs became a project of the campus syndicalist movement 180/Movement for Democracy and Education
Teach-ins have more recently been used by environmental educators. The ‘2010 Imperative: A Global Emergency Teach-in’ was held on February 20, 2007 at the New York Academy of Science and organized by Architecture 2030, led by architect Edward Mazria
and viewable online through a webcast.
In 2017 and 2018, the University of Michigan ran a number of free online “Teach-Outs” on topics such as free speech, fake news, hurricanes, and science communications.
Some of the Teach-Outs were hosted on Coursera
In 2018, the University of Michigan and the University of Notre Dame partnered to offer a series of teach-ins and an online "Teach-Out" on Puerto Rico's hurricane recovery efforts.
In 2018, Stanford University held a teach-in for gun-violence in schools.
In 2020, students and faculty at Haverford College held teach-ins on racial justice and other related issues during a strike against the college for its refusal to meet the demands proposed by Black and other POC students.
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- ^ "MICHIGAN FACULTY CREATED TEACH-IN; 49 at University Staged the First Vietnam Protest". The New York Times. 9 May 1965. p. 43. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ Levitas, Mitchel (May 1965). "Vietnam Comes to Oregon U." New York Times Magazine. pp. SM24. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
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- ^ a b c d e DeBenedetti, Charles; Chatfield, Charles (assisting) (1990). An American ordeal: the antiwar movement of the Vietnam era (1st ed.). Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0815602456.
- ^ Olson, James Stuart (1999). Historical dictionary of the 1960s. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 26. ISBN 0-313-29271-X.
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- ^ a b "PROFESSORS HOLD VIETNAM PROTEST: 3 Bomb Threats Disrupt 'Teach-in' at Michigan U." The New York Times. Associated Press. 25 March 1965. p. 9. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
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- ^ "A Rally at Rutgers". The New York Times (special). 24 April 1965. p. 2. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ "UCLA Vietnam Day Committee planning and promotional documents for 25 March 1966 antiwar teach-in". 25 March 1966.
- ^ Farrell, James J. (1997). The spirit of the sixties: making postwar radicalism. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-91386-1.
- ^ Rorabaugh, W.J. (1989). Berkeley at war: the 1960s. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195066677.
- ^ "Isaac Deutscher, UC Berkeley Teach-In, May 1965". Library, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ "Berkeley Teach-In: Vietnam. Voices and Documents" (PDF). Smithsonian Folkways. Folkways Records. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ "The Pacifica Radio/UC Berkeley Social Activism Sound Recording Project:Anti-Vietnam War Protests in the San Francisco Bay Area & Beyond". University of California Berkeley Library. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
- ^ Cite error: The named reference senatestudy was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
- ^ Sahlins, Marshall (February 2009). "The Teach-ins: Anti-war protest in the Old Stoned Age". Anthropology Today. 25 (1): 3–5. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8322.2009.00639.x.
- ^ "Corporations And Democracy Teach-in, October, 13-19, 1996 [announcement email for Wisconsin event]". Ratical. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ Sawano, Nanaho (1998-03-03). "Cornel West Opens Democracy Teach-Ins". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ "2010 Imperative Global Emergency Teach-In". Architecture 2030. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ "Global Emergency Teach-In". Architecture 2030. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ Rich, Sarah. "THE 2010 IMPERATIVE: Global Emergency Teach-In". Inhabitat. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ "Colleges host 'teach-in' on warming - Climate Change". NBC News. Associated Press. 12 May 2008. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ Manning, Cyril (2008-01-28). "01.28.2008 - Campus joins national Focus the Nation "teach-in" with Jan. 31 global warming symposium". UC Berkeley News. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ "Join NAU in: The National Teach-In on Climate Change Solutions". Northern Arizona University. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ "National Teach-In [Internet Archive snapshot]". 26 July 2009. Archived from the original on 26 July 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ "Occupy Wall Street Plans 'Teach-In' After Jay-Z Questions Movement". Rolling Stone. 2012-09-10. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ Lucas, Bobbie. "Occupy Wall Street teach-in inspires - Democracy Matters". Democracy Matters. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ Daniel, Aloi (2015-10-19). "Black Lives Matter teach-in aims to inspire, inform". Cornell Chronicle. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ "Black Lives Matter Teach-In Old". Black Lives Matter Pratt. 3 February 2016. Archived from the original on 12 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ Morrison, Bailey (4 March 2016). "FSU holds forum to discuss last week's Black Lives Matter teach in". FSU Gatepost. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ "Activists hold Black Lives Matter Teach-In in Greenville". Fox Carolina. 2016-10-02. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- ^ "University of Michigan Launching Online 'Teach-Out' Series". Archived from the original on 2018-05-09.
- ^ a b "University of Michigan hosting online series about free speech issues". 22 February 2018.
- ^ a b "In wake of Irma, Harvey and Jose, University of Michigan experts offer online 'teachouts' on hurricanes".
- ^ "Increase in Puerto Rico death toll not surprising, says U-M expert". News-Medical.net. 2018-08-29. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
- ^ Reporter, Veronica Ortega, WSBT 22. "Notre Dame and Michigan team up to give voice to Puerto Rican hurricane victims". WSBT. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
- ^ "Stanford GSE Holds Teach-in on Research into Gun Violence in Schools". ed.stanford.edu. 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
- OUT NOW! A participant's account of the American movement against the Vietnam war. Fred Halstead. New York:Monad Press, 1978.
- Arnold S. Kaufman papers: 1954-1971 (finding aid), held at the Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
- Richard D. Mann papers: 1965-1984 (finding aid), held at the Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
- Inventory to the Records of the Office of Public Information on the Vietnam War Teach-Ins, 1965-1966, held at Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries
- National Security File, Files of McGeorge Bundy, held at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library
Last edited on 4 June 2021, at 17:26
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