The Living New Deal offers periodic webinars (online lectures and panels) featuring lively discussions of New Deal topics, past and present. The webinars began as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, but they turn out to have the added virtue of allowing us to reach a wider national audience through Zoom and Facetime. We will continue to offer webinars as a complement to live talks, exhibits and other events by both our West Coast team and our New York City branch. Find upcoming webinars and watch past webinars.
Reality Makes Them Dream: Revisiting New Deal-Era Photography
with Josie Johnson and Emilia Mickevicius
December 6, 2022, 5pm PT
Photography from the New Deal-era is often associated with mirroring the bleak realities of the Great Depression. Yet, the photography is remarkably varied, using the raw material of the visible world as a point of departure for viewers’ imaginations, venturing into the poetic and surreal. Join us as we examine how the works of WPA photographers like Sybil Anikeef, Sonya Noskowiak, Edward Weston and others complicate and add dimension to understanding art and culture in the US in the 1930s.
COVID-19, the Great Depression, and the Battle between Memory and Forgetting
with Dave Chokshi, MD, Sharon Musher, and Karen Kruse Thomas
December 7, 2022, 5pm PT
Join three experts and moderator Robert Snyder on medicine, public health and the New Deal for a conversation about the history and politics of remembering and forgetting, and their implications for how we think about our past and future in light of COVID. Learn more
A webinar with Deborah Kauffman and Allen Snitow
Painting the Mail
Post Office Art of the New Deal with Barbara Bernstein
Ill-Housed, Then and Now
NYC CHAPTER, November 2022
Painting the Mail:
A Webinar with Barbara Bernstein
The Unfinished Business of the New Deal:
A Roundtable Discussion Hosted by Kevin Baker
NYC CHAPTER, October 2022
The Federal Theatre: Revisiting the Dream
Art and Intersections: New Deal Photography Through the Lens of Arthur Rothstein
Art and Intersections: The Harlem Renaissance Meets the New Deal
Los Tres Grandes—Mexican Muralists’ Influence on the Artists of the WPA
PREPARING FOR WAR HOW THE NEW DEAL HELPED AMERICA JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST FASCISM AND WIN WORLD WAR
NYC CHAPTER, February 2022
A New Deal for Native Art
The New Deal Artistry of Jo Mora
Biden’s Civilian Conservation Corps: Lessons from the Original CCC
The Living New Deal hosts Neil Maher, author of the award-winning book, Nature’s New Deal—The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement. (Oxford University Press, 2008)
The Next New Deal: Why the New Deal Matters
Webinar Series “The Next New Deal“: “Why the New Deal Matters” (Yale University Press) – A conversation with Eric Rauchway and Lizabeth Cohen about how the New Deal fundamentally changed American life, and why it remains relevant today.
The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Federal Writers’ Project
A conversation with the author, Scott Borchert, and writer David Kipen.
Scott Borchert, author of Republic of Detours: How the New Deal Paid Broke Writers to Rediscover America, and writer David Kipen explore the Federal Writers’ Project—from its optimistic early days to its dismemberment by the House Committee on Un-American Activities to the “culture wars” today.
Pools, Parks, and the New Deal in Greater New York
NYC CHAPTER, June 2021
The New Deal built a network of parks and recreation facilities that still enriches life in the New York metropolitan area. Maintaining and extending this inheritance has meant confronting both racial discrimination and budget cuts. Join us as we explore the New Deal’s legacy for our region’s parks and contemporary efforts to build parks for communities that lack green space.
Ill-housed: Housing policy for the New Deal and Today
NYC CHAPTER, June 2021
Eighty-five years ago, as a result of the Great Depression, America suffered an acute housing crisis. How did the New Deal respond, and what lessons can we take away from its successes and failures to help address the current housing crisis? For low, moderate, and middle-income families, the current crisis had its origins in the 2008 recession and was disastrously exacerbated by the pandemic, which brought with it increased evictions and homelessness. What are the proposals being put forth to address immediate and long-term housing needs, and what chance do they have of being enacted? How do those proposals address financial as well as racial inequities in the housing market? Our speakers will provide an overview of the New Deal’s innovative housing programs for urban, suburban, rural, and migrant families; and then examine current plans for financing and building housing, as well as ensuring the equitable distribution of housing assets.
Reigniting the Spirit of the New Deal’s Federal Writers’ Project
The Federal Writers’ Project (FWP), launched in 1935 under the Works Progress Administration (WPA), employed thousands of out-of-work writers, researchers, historians and librarians during the Great Depression. The FWP produced hundreds of publications, including the American Guides to states and cities. Congress largely defunded the FWP in 1939 after the House UnAmerican Activities Committee accused it of having communist sympathies.
Speakers: Susan Rubenstein DeMasi is a freelance writer and the author of “Henry Alsberg: The Driving Force of the New Deal Federal Writers’ Project.” David Kipen, former book critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and Director of Literature for the National Endowment of the Arts, David authored the introductions to four American Guides reissued by UC Press. Fern L. Nesson, an attorney and fine arts photographer, uses her collection of American Guides on road trips, which she chronicles in her column, “Travels with the WPA State Guides,” featured on the Living New Deal’s website.
The New Deal and Far-Right Extremism: Saving the Republic
NYC CHAPTER, March 2021
Picture an America in which an angry crowd of radical veterans surround the Capitol and are dispersed only with tear gas and gunfire. An America in which a disgruntled Marine general is approached about leading a coup to overturn an election; in which right-wing fanatics hoard weapons, set up paramilitary and youth indoctrination camps around the country, and encourage children to turn in undocumented immigrants. An America in which a ranting demagogue sends his followers into the streets to assault Jews and spread stories of foreign subversion. Where a clownish, would-be president plots to grab the White House by forming his own third party and splitting the vote. Where the most outlandish conspiracy theories and the wildest rumors are spread everywhere about the president, his wife and children, and his most trusted advisors.
No, we’re not talking about America today but America in the 1930s, when the Bonus Army marched on Washington, the fascist “Silver Shirts” set up a Manson-like compound outside Los Angeles, millions tuned in to hear Father Coughlin spread his anti-Semitic poison over the airwaves, and American Nazis set up such a large youth camp on Long Island that the Long Island Railroad had to run special trains to it from Grand Central Station every weekend. Learn about just how extremist America could be, back when Donald Trump was still just a twinkle in his father’s eye—and Fred Christ Trump was still just a home-building Klansman in Queens.
Hear the sort-of-shocking, sort-of-reassuring story of how the country held on during the ultimate stress test of the Great Depression and the approach to World War II. It’s the story of how we saved democracy before—and how we might do it again.
Health of a Nation: Past Inspirations, Recent Lessons and Equitable Planning for the Future
NYC CHAPTER February 2021
Among its many achievements, the New Deal devoted significant resources to improving public health. Join our panel as they explore this forgotten history and seek ways to address the public health challenges we face today.
Art and Activisim: Posters for Social Change
Our first webinar of the year, on January 7 brought together leading experts on the role of posters in social movements. Lincoln Cushing, an artist, archivist and author based in Berkeley. Lincoln discussed the history of posters as tools of social change. Ennis Carter, founding director of Philadelphia-based DfSI/Social Impact Studios and author of Posters for the People, talked about posters of the WPA. She maintains an online archive of thousands of posters created during the New Deal era. Max Slavkin, is co-founder and CEO of Creative Action Network, which runs crowdsourced, caused-based campaigns and an online marketplace for art with purpose. Max’s book, Posters for a Green New Deal, features 50 original pull-out posters by artists worldwide. Susan Ives, who directs the Living New Deal’s Communications, moderated the discussion.
From the Original New Deal to the Green New Deal
NYC CHAPTER, September 2020
Starting out as a set of aspirational policy objectives, the Green New Deal has rapidly gained traction among policymakers, change agents, and the public. It draws its inspiration from the New Deal, which offers a compelling model for tackling the challenges ahead. Our distinguished speakers will lead a discussion about the economic, environmental, social, and political changes that many of us want to see and be part of..