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05-29-2014

Clarkson University Professor Examines Social Activist's Work

Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Political Science Stephen Bird is co-editor of a book that examines social activist Howard Zinn's amazing legacy.

Stephen Bird Newly released in paperback, Agitation with a Smile: Howard Zinn and Activism for the 21st Century, will be introduced with a celebration this Saturday, May 31, from 7-9 p.m. at Bluestockings Bookstore at 172 Allen Street in New York City.

Bird, along with co-editors Adam Silver and Joshua C. Yesnowitz, and some of the contributors to the 13-chapter book, will attend to discuss Zinn's relevance to a new generation of activists and scholars.

“He fought for change in a manner that reflected a positive overview on human beings. He really inspired me,” says Bird, who teaches political science.

A scholar, teacher, writer, and activist, Zinn died in 2010 at age 87. He wrote extensively about civil rights and anti-war movements. He once said he wanted to be known as "somebody who gave people a feeling of hope and power that they didn't have before.”

“We had a lot of fun doing the book. We picked writers ranging from senior scholars to a former Marine. This is not just an all-academic book. We think Zinn would appreciate that,” Bird adds.

In the book, Zinn's friend Noam Chomsky writes: “What matters is to take part, as best we can, in the small actions of unknown people than can stave off disaster and bring about a better world, to honor them for their achievements, to do what we can to ensure that these achievements are understood and carried forward.”

Bird says, “Zinn's message is about having the courage to speak out. We all can think harder about our actions as individuals and as a nation.”

Along that line, he and his colleagues hope to collaborate on an article examining scholarly activism and changes happening in universities.

For more information on Agitation with a Smile, go to http://www.paradigmpublishers.com/books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=298806 .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/sbird.jpg.]
[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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