The 2012 Lannan Spring Symposium and Literary Festival, “Blueprint for Accountability,” will explore the 2008 financial crisis and resultant Occupy Wall Street movement with a series of discussions and speaker events.
“We believe the financial crisis to be one of our most pressing issues, and that our financial stability is still quite precarious,” Carolyn Forché, director of the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Justice, the sponsor of the festival, said. “Undergraduates across the country should have a strong interest in this topic, as it affects everything from buying their first house to building their professional lives. I can’t think of anything that a college student should more intensely consume himself with.”
Former New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer, Rolling Stone Magazine contributor Matt Taibbi, Pulitzer-Prize winning author Ron Suskind, Occupy Wall Street activist and writer for the blog “Daily Kos” JesseLaGreca, Demos’ D.C. Office Director Heather McGhee and sustainability activist Van Jones will kick off the festival Tuesday with a panel about the relationship between Wall Street and the federal government. The event, co-sponsored by the Culture Project of New York City, aims to spark dialogueabout the role of financial and economic powers in American society.
Other events throughout the coming week include a breakfast conversation with Suskind and McGhee on Wednesday, a lecture by Booker Prize-winning author Margaret Atwood, a documentary screening and an event about the American debt crisis and Occupy movement.
Members of Georgetown Occupy have been consulted in the planning of the April 3 event, “American Occupations: Debt and the Crisis of Democracy.”
“Whether or not you agree with what the movement is, you have to acknowledge its major impact on national politics in the last year,” Georgetown Occupy member Gina Bull (SFS ’12) said. She added that she expects the national movement to make a spring resurgence and that this academic discussion marks a significant time for the Occupy protests.
Despite the national focus of the events, Forché emphasized the importance of the symposium to the Georgetown community.
“We’re always interested in opening conversations on campus among the disciplines and inspiringundergrads to become involved,” she said. “There are students all over our campus who are engaged in community service and are engaged in social justice. My dream is a larger and greater conversation that facilitates understanding of the connections between the classroom and the community.”