A Conversation with Carol Berkin
About the Changing Constitution

Thursday, April 10, 2003

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BARUCH COLLEGE, NEW YORK, NY (4/8/03)—Debates over theProfessor Carol Berkin of the History department Constitution of the United States of America, its various Amendments, and the controversial protection it extends to flag-burning political dissidents and cross-burning racists have assumed a new sense of urgency in the news, but Professor Carol Berkin of the History department views the questions as part of a venerable tradition of discourse and continuing evolution of the nation’s supreme law. “I’ve said in my work and I continue to maintain that the Constitution is not a static document. It changes in response to political demands,” said Berkin, who, along with Professors Barbara Winslow and Wendell E. Pritchett will examine the origins and expansion of the document’s meaning in the upcoming panel discussion “We The People … A Conversation About the Changing Constitution,” taking place at 12:45 PM on Thursday, April 10 in Room 5-165 of the Newman Vertical Campus.

The panel, moderated by Professor Bert Hansen of the History department, is the first in a new annual series of events called the Friedman Symposium series, underwritten by Baruch College alumnus and benefactor Robert Friedman (MBA ’67). Friedman, a retired partner at Goldman Sachs, is an American history enthusiast who has funded innovative, small-scale seminars and student outings to sites of historical significance around the nation. Along with his support of the Friedman Symposium, Friedman also devised the “Myself Third: Spirit of New York Scholarships”, an annual award that recognizes civic-minded high school students.

“He’s beloved in our department because his support has allowed us to do some really interesting things. This event is very much in that vein,” said Berkin, who will also take students from her colonial American history class on a trip to Philadelphia this semester thanks to Friedman.

Berkin says that the organizers of the event wanted to create a conversation rather than a lecture, so they avoided an overly formal structure and the presentation of academic papers. “We are not limiting the discussion. We are hoping it will be as loose and wide open as possible,” added Berkin. With a panel that collectively covers over two centuries of Constitutional development within their areas of expertise, the event provides a rare opportunity for students and history enthusiasts to interact with distinguished specialists. “We wanted to start an open conversation among these three scholars. Professor Berkin will talk about the original intentions of the framers, Professor Pritchett addresses the inclusion of African-Americans, and Professor Winslow will talk about the changing role of women,” said Hansen.

We The People is free and open to the public. The event is co-sponsored by the Department of History and the History Club.

 

Olayinka Fadahunsi,
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