Mar 8 Wed 1.30-8pm CUNY Elebash Recital Hall – Political Icons: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, the 2017 Leon Levy Biography Conference

Political Icons: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, the 2017 Leon Levy Biography Conference

1:30pm – 8pm Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Elebash Recital Hall, The Graduate Center, CUNY (365 Fifth Ave., at 34th St.)

An afternoon series of four events, free and open to the public. Reservations are required for the final event, Israel and Palestine through Memoir and Biography. Register here with Graduate Center Public Programs. If you plan to attend only the earlier events, simply RSVP by email to

1:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Introductory Remarks

1:45 p.m. – 3 p.m. Liberal Icons
David Nasaw (award-winning biographer of Joseph Kennedy, Andrew Carnegie and William Randolph Hearst), with Blanche Wiesen Cook (author of the three-volume biography, Eleanor Roosevelt), Patricia Bell-Scott (The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice), and David Levering-Lewis (the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the two-volume biography of W.E.B. DuBois).

3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Daniel Oppenheimer in Conversation with Kai Bird
Daniel Oppenheimer (Exit Right: The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century) discusses the strange political odysseys of Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Ronald Reagan, Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz, and Christopher Hitchens.

4:45 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Presidential Transitions
Meg Jacobs (Research Scholar, Princeton University, and author of Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s), with Robert Dallek (author of presidential biographies of FDR, JFK, LBJ and Nixon), John Farrell (Richard Nixon: The Life), and Michael Tomasky (Bill Clinton).

6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Israel and Palestine through Memoir and Biography
Sari Nusseibeh (Once upon a Country: A Palestinian Life and The Story of Reason in Islam) and Dan Ephron (Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel) speak with Kai Bird (Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age between the Arabs and Israelis).

Established with a generous gift from the Leon Levy Foundation in 2007 as a hub for writers, scholars, students, teachers, and readers of biography, the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the CUNY Graduate Center builds connections between independent and university-affiliated biographers across disciplines and cultivates important discussions about the art and craft of biography historically and in our time.
“Without the Leon Levy Center for Biography Fellowship, I could never have written my just-published book, Balanchine & The Lost Muse.”
—Elizabeth Kendall, 2011–2012 fellow, author of Balanchine & the Lost Muse: Revolution & the Making of a Choreographer (Oxford, 2013)

To achieve its mandate of identifying, supporting, and fostering excellence and innovation in biography, the Leon Levy Center for Biography (LLCB) hosts frequent public events as well as the annual Leon Levy Biography Lecture in the fall; an annual conference or biography clinic in the spring; a resident fellowship competition to fund the research and writing of outstanding biographies; and academic courses at the Graduate Center in the art and craft of biography.

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