The Clare Spark Blog

July 26, 2014

CV as of 2014: Clare Spark, Ph.D.

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clare early 1970s Ruscha show prankI could have used this for “About Clare Spark” ( for the website, but chose to do a different type of autobiography. Here is my CV as of 2008, recently updated. Almost 800 blogs not included, but they are all grounded in prior research; some of the blogs were published or presented to peers at conferences. KPFK and other Pacifica radio experience not included.

DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH: August 10, 1937, New York City
UNIVERSITY DEGREES: Ph.D. in History, UCLA; 6/93; M.A. in History, UCLA, Fall, 1984; M.A. in Teaching Science, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 6/59; B.S. with distinction, Cornell University, 2/58.


2014. Review Ben Urwand, The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact With Hitler. Journal of Cold War Studies, Fall.

2008.Forthcoming review of Peter Moreira, Hemingway on the China Front: His WWII Spy Mission with Martha Gellhorn, Journal of Cold War Studies (withdrawn for publication on my website:

2007. “Arthur Schlesinger’s Missing Vital Center.” History News Network., “Gunnar Myrdal’s A Lot More Complicated Than You Think.” History News Network, March 12.

2006-2008. Regular commentator on the politics of culture for Pacifica Radio Station KPFT (Houston), LivingArts, archived and streamed live on the web.

2006. Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival (Kent, Ohio: Kent State UP, 2nd ed. Paperback).

2004. “What Lies Behind the Multicultural Approach to History?” History News Network.

2004. “Ralph Bunche and the Jewish Problem.” UCLA Bunche Center for African-American Studies, 2-21 Symposium.

2002. “Melville’s ‘Private Faith’: Christian Antisemite or Crypto-Jew?” paper for Modern Language Association meeting, December 28, 2002, New York City.

2002. “Margoth v. Robert E. Lee: Melville’s Poetry and Rival Conceptions of National Unity,” paper for panel “The Nineteenth-Century Artist,” American Literature Association Meeting, June 1, 2002, Long Beach, California.

2002. “Herman Melville: Dead White Male,” History News Network,

2002. “Chomsky versus Lippmann,” posting on History of Diplomacy discussion group, Humanities Net, January 15.

2001. Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival (Kent, Ohio: Kent State UP). [Reviewed in London Review of Books (Oct.31, 2002), Harper’s (June 2002), Southern Humanities Review (Spring 2002), Christianity and Literature (Summer 2002), American Literature ( 2002 ), CHOICE (Nov. 2001), Library Journal (2001). Modern Language Quarterly (June, 2003), Bloomsbury Review, American Literary Scholarship, The Year’s Work in Literature, Leviathan (2003), Minutes of the Charles Olson Society (April 2004), Journal of Cold War Studies (Fall, 2005)

2001. “Race, Caste, or Class? The Bunche-Myrdal Dispute Over An American Dilemma,” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society Vol.14, No.3 (Spring 2001): 465-511.

[Abstract: Few observers doubt that Gunnar Myrdal and Ralph J. Bunche had sharp methodological disagreements and differing approaches to tactics for ending “the Negro problem.” Myrdal has been criticized as a statist liberal and utopian moralist by recent cultural historians defending “progressive nationalism” (multiculturalism), while Bunche has been characterized as a vulgar Marxist, and, with Myrdal, a denigrator of “black culture.” Inspection of An American Dilemma in contrast with Bunche’s research memoranda suggests that Myrdal represented himself as a Burkean conservative, while Bunche’s analyses transmit the radical puritan libertarian tradition, but without rejecting social democratic remedies en route to working-class control of industry. Their shared emphasis on class-based remedies to end poverty and powerlessness, however, renders them similarly unassimilable in a period where the progressive left has generally embraced racial or ethnic “identity,” not class power, as the source of individual emancipation, mental health, and economic betterment.]

2000. “Moderating Melville.” Conference paper, American Literary Association, May 27, Long Beach, California.

1999. “Klara Hitler’s Son: The Langer Report on Hitler’s Mind,” Social Thought and Research, Vol.22, No. 1/2, pp. 113-37.

1998. “Hunting Captain Ahab: The Dark Side of the Melville Revival, 1919-1998,” September 25-26. Symposium in honor of Alexander Saxton sponsored by UCLA.

1996. “From Light Into Darkness: the modern artist as Promethean, explorer, psychoanalyst, moralist and materialist–the case of Melville’s Isabel.” Paper for session “Femme Fatale as Subversive Icon,” Conference on “Love and Politics in Literary Perspective,” March 1 and 2, sponsored by Departments of Classics and Comparative Literature, California State University at Long Beach.

1991. Enter Isabel: The Herman Melville Correspondence of Clare Spark and Paul Metcalf, ed. and annotated by Paul Metcalf (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press).

1991. Commentator, two papers on Pierre. Melville-Whitman Conference, Siena College, Oct. 4.

1991. Other talks on Melville and modernism vs. fascist and protofascist reaction delivered to the History Department, University of Connecticut Oct. 21, Undergraduate English Association, Fordham University, Oct. 29, WBAI-FM, New York City, November 1.

1991. “Who’s Crazy Now? An Essay Dedicated to Christopher Hill,” UCLA Historical Journal Vol. 10, 1990. Winner Theodore Saloutos Award, $500 annual prize for best essay. [Originally a Sermon delivered to the First Unitarian Church, 1/8/90: the legacy of radical protestantism, institutional double-binds specific to modernity, anti-Semitism as antimodernism directed against the Reformation and empiricism; organicism versus materialism on the Left, romantic anticapitalist movements in Anglo-American culture, and the significance of recently declassified government documents from the Psychological Strategy Board (1951-53) regarding government psychological warfare. Contrary to expectation I found no evidence of a U.S. plot to magnify the Soviet threat.]

1990. “Call Me Isabel: Herman Melville as Feminist,” paper delivered at the annual meeting of The American Studies Association, Nov. 2, the panel on “feminist perspectives.”

1987. “Pacifica Radio and the Politics of Culture,” American Media and Mass Culture, ed. Don Lazere (University of California Press).

1987. “Good Jews, Bad Jews, and Wandering Jews in Herman Melville’s Clarel,” Lecture co-sponsored by UCLA Department of History and the Program in Comparative Literature, April 23.

1986. “The Battle for Pacifica Radio,” Paper delivered to California American Studies Association, April 25, panel on Culture and Dissent: Women in Politics.

1982. [on the recent controversies within the Pacifica Foundation and KPFK], sponsored by the radical caucus of The Modern Language Association, annual meeting.

1981-82. “The Sour Apple Tree,” KPFK Folio: a monthly column on the theory and practice of alternative media; proposals for new directions in programming.

1978. “The Rescue” (a montage concerning ideology in the public sculptures of Horatio Greenough), Journal of the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, June/July.

1978. “Masochism Builds Character,” in Education; Papers in Honor of Fletcher G. Watson, ed. Leo Klopfer (Harvard Graduate School of Education).Education in Science and Science

1976. “About the Culture,” (jacket notes), Sentimental Songs of the Mid-Nineteenth Century (Takoma Records, A-1048).

1975. “The Politics of Feminist Art,” member of panel chaired by Carl Baldwin for the annual meeting of the College Art Association.

SCHOLARSHIPS, GRANTS, HONORS: Post-doctoral fellowship, Williams Andrews Clark Jr. Memorial Library, “The Artist as Hero, 1680-1800,” (a seminar directed by Robert Folkenflik, summer, 1989; I studied the ongoing conservative response to Milton, and romantic anticapitalism in William Blake, William Morris, Eric Gill, D.H. Lawrence, and Aldous Huxley); Rosecrans Fellowship, UCLA Department of History 1987-1988, 1988-89; Graduate Division Fellowship, UCLA 1986-87; Distinguished Scholar Award, UCLA Alumni Association 1985-86; Carey McWilliams Fellowship, 1985-86; Alfred P. Sloan National Fellowship, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 1958-59; New York State Scholarship, 1954-58.

The National Endowment for the Arts (1974: to produce 39 radio programs on the politics of the art world; 1977: to produce, write and direct a series of montages on the social roots of popular music in the age of Jackson); The National Endowment for the Humanities (1976: to write radio scripts on the politics of middle-class music 1820-1860); 1979-80: to direct the development of a radio series exploring unity and conflict in postwar America as documented in the Pacifica Archives); California Council for the Humanities (1982: to direct a series of symposia establishing social contexts for twelve contemporary plays originated at KPFK). 1972 Major Armstrong Award for FM Broadcasting (second place in educational documentary, for Jim Morrison: Artist in Hell). Appointed to Academic Senate Systemwide Affirmative Action in Hiring and Academic Programs Committee by UC Student Lobby (1984-86). Appointed to ASUCLA Communications Board by Graduate Students Association (1984-85). Nominated for membership on California State Council for the Humanities by Kathryn Kish Sklar, 1982.

EMPLOYMENT: Spring Quarter 1985, Field Studies Coordinator for UCLA undergraduate seminar in history of mass media; helped teach class and developed syllabus and bibliography for critical media studies with grant from UCLA Office of Instructional Development.

February 1981-August 1982, Program Director, KPFK-FM (Pacifica Radio, Los Angeles). It was my objective to clarify the identity of Pacifica Radio as alternative institution and to build credible programming and empathic relations with the audience consistent with Pacifica’s stated ideals. Significant progress toward the creation of an desegregated radio station, sensitive to the historical experience of women, people of color, and labor, was achieved. Subscriptions increased by 20%, I planned and organized the three most successful fund-drives in KPFK history to that date, listener-support was at a new high. The new direction in programming (critical and historically informed) attracted unusual and laudatory press coverage. I produced and/or developed 35 new regularly scheduled programs and numerous symposia: 6 “Teach-Ins” (on El Salvador, the arms race, Southern Africa, reproductive rights for women, Northern Ireland, and Reaganomics); 2 day-long Peace Festivals (involving every peace organization in Southern California and numerous artists and poets), and Peace Week (in support of the June 12, 1982 NYC demonstration).

The Pacifica Foundation Board of Directors unanimously adopted a resolution that I authored: Pacifica programming would encourage critical thought in culture and politics alike, adopting a principled opposition to racism and sexism. The controversy which erupted over implementation of this (“illiberal”!) resolution eventually drove me out of the station and back to graduate school (where I had started work in U.S. intellectual history, Fall, 1980). The history of “ethnopluralism” (which I traced while in graduate school) suggests that “multiculturalism” as currently practiced is a piecemeal and ineffective conservative liberal strategy to contain and redirect the unpredictable energies of postwar anticolonialism and antiracism, inducing further fragmentation/ghettoisation of the hitherto oppressed and excluded. In 1981 I viewed integrated programming simply as balanced history, comprehending the experience of all groups without idealization; some programming would deal with issues of particular relevance to specific groups, such as women, non-whites, etc., but these would be understood as part of a larger picture of political, economic, and cultural (i.e., institutional) conflict, often global in character. Our explorations would not presume any particular political outcome: our analytic method would be grounded in inductive, not deductive logic; the question would remain open as to what kind of social/economic organization would best encourage the release of human creativity and development. In its populist zeal to “smash capitalism” (without critical reflection), however, an unreformed Pacifica tends to promote separatism, alienation, and despair.

August-September 1980, Producer and Host, “The Afternoon Air,” KPFK. Researched and produced a daily (weekday) three-hour montage of news, public affairs features and documentaries, music and interviews. (I continued this assignment while Program Director, 2/81-10/81)

1971-73, Faculty, School of Critical Studies, California Institute of the Arts; taught Radio Workshop, Mass Media and the Audience (critical tools for analysis).

1972, UCLA Extension, Coordinator: “The Arts and Social Change.”

1971-72, Co-Director, Drama and Literature, KPFK.

1958, 1959-60, Chemistry, biology and general science teacher, Jamaica High School (Queens, NY), Los Angeles High School.

1979, Consultant to Executive Director, Pacifica Foundation (long-term program development and fund-raising)

1978-80, Consultant-expert, The National Endowment for the Arts. I served twice on the radio panel (Media Arts division) and represented all of radio at the policy review panel (Media Arts) in 1980, leading the protest against cultural imperialism in arts funding at the NEA.

1972-82, Public lectures/demonstrations, slide shows on the politics of alternative media, censorship in the arts, sex and violence in recent feminist art and photography. Sponsored by Berkeley University Art Museum, Aspen Design Conference, Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA Women’s Resource Center, UCLA Department of Art, UCLA Extension, AAUW of Los Angeles, etc. Also, lecture/demonstration classes at UC Irvine (Moira Roth), School of Visual Art (Joyce Kozloff), Cooper Union (Hans Haacke), The New School for Social Research, NYU Film School, and Otis Art Institute.

A featured speaker at invitational conferences, including Community Arts and Community Survival (American Council of the Arts in Education, 1972); Women in the Arts (University of Wisconsin, 1973); Women in Media (UC Berkeley, 1974); The Artist’s Survival (Associated Councils of the Arts, 1975); Critical Communications Conference (Stanford University, 1978, San Diego State, 1979); and attended Independent Radio Producers Conference, Markle Foundation, 1979).

RADIO PRODUCTION: 1969-1994. Hundreds of critical commentaries (closely analysing politics and structures in museum exhibitions), documentaries, “performances,” and interviews, many nationally distributed by Pacifica Program Service. Guests have included Herbert Marcuse, Anais Nin, François Truffaut, John Kenneth Galbraith, Dennis Brutus, Ntozake Shange, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Daniel Ellsberg, Richard Foreman, Roger Angell, and Harold Rosenberg. Long documentaries treated Jim Morrison and Nietzsche, Picasso’s politics, De Kooning’s patronage, “bad taste” in popular culture, authoritarianism and protofascism, artistic and cultural freedom, psychosurgery, etc. From 1988-98, I wrote and presented my series “How Do We Know When We Are Not Fascists?” that compared analyses of “fascism” before, during, and after World War II, and continued my study of the transmission of twentieth century European and American history in the major museums. Recent 90 minute programs presented Herman Melville’s suppressed annotations to Milton’s Paradise Lost, with readings of radical Melville passages by Roscoe Lee Browne, August 1, 1990, arguing for Melville’s oscillating identifications with both Ahab (a left-wing puritan) and Ishmael (a romantic conservative).

OTHER ACTIVITIES: In 1974, composer Joseph Byrd and I founded The Yankee Doodle Society, a production group of artists and scholars whose advisors and endorsers have included Julian Bond, Roscoe Lee Browne, David Brion Davis, Herbert Gutman, Michael Rogin, Roger Shattuck, Kathryn Kish Sklar, and Richard Slotkin. I have co-produced four narrated concerts of nineteenth-century popular music, two sets of recordings (4 disks: Takoma A-1048, Musical Heritage Society 834561) which reconstruct middle-class music of the early and mid-nineteenth century; and have produced, written and directed A Change of Tears: Sentimental Song and Purity Reform in the Age of Jackson, a 10 1/2 hour collage of dramatized documents and music from antebellum America demonstrating contradictory themes in the emerging industrial culture, for instance: “family values” can be seen either as conservative nostrum for social and economic ills or as the bulwark of democratic opposition to illegitimate authority. Actors included Hershel Bernardi, Roscoe Lee Browne, Beatrice Manley, David Birney and William Schallert. These activities have been funded through private contributions, NEH, NEA, and TOSCO. The collage was broadcast in its entirety on July 4, 1994, KPFK-FM, Los Angeles, rebroadcast Thanksgiving 1994 and Labor Day 1995.

DISSERTATION TITLE: The “Melville” Revival, 1919-1953: An Unclosed Case Study in Conservative Enlightenment.

DOCTORAL COMMITTEE CHAIR AND OTHER MENTORS: Alexander Saxton (Chair: intellectual/cultural/social/labor history); Gary Nash (colonial history); Margaret Washington Creel (slavery and reconstruction); Kathryn Kish Sklar (women and nineteenth-century reform movements); Robert Brenner (English history during the transition from feudalism to capitalism; attended all sessions of the Center for Social Theory and Comparative History under his direction, 1988- ); informal study with other professors including Saul Friedländer (representations of the Holocaust), Simon Schaffer and Roy Porter (history of science and medicine), Albert Boime (18th-20th Century European and American art history, the recent controversy over NEA funding).

READING COMMITTEE: Alexander Saxton, Saul Friedländer, Carolyn Porter (UC Berkeley), Albert Boime, Robert Brenner, Katherine King.

DISSERTATION SUMMARY: Utilizing ignored or newly available sources (the papers of Raymond Weaver, Richard Chase, Charles Olson, Jay Leyda, and Henry Murray), I reconstructed patterns of censorship in “the Melville Revival” and challenged current interpretations of Melville and Melville criticism since 1919; the relevant context is the institutionalization of psychological warfare before, during, and after World War II, with Melville’s character Captain Ahab increasingly characterized with hostility as bearer of Radical Enlightenment. In the rhetoric of New Dealers and their left-wing allies, Ahab (a savage Hebrew prophet) is an “anticipation” of Hitler and Stalin: the ideological thrust of this Conservative Enlightenment tendency is explicitly antimaterialist and antidemocratic. I have contrasted Burkean conservatism, romantic anticapitalism, Christian Socialism, organicist Left and New Left thought, with the libertarian thought of Locke, Mandeville, Adam Smith, etc. Melville’s approach to biography is seen as alternating between (family-splintering) “British” empiricism and (family-reunifying) “German” Romanticism.

Archival research in the papers of leading Melville scholars disclosed widespread physical and emotional distress while writing about their subject, also ambivalence and/or hostility toward Melville in the published writings; moreover there has been widespread suppression of biographical and textual evidence in Melville studies since 1919, the year “America’s greatest writer” (1819-1891) was ostensibly rescued from philistine contemporaries. My account of the making of the “Melville” [ruin] is correlated with the varied endeavors of antifascist liberals in American Studies, social psychology, and the Committee for Economic Development (socially responsible capitalists adopting Keynesian economics in the early 1940s). These were pragmatists and ethnopluralists who nervously defined themselves against both Marx and Freud in the 1920s and 30s. I suggest that the periodization of “Cold War culture” (as the creation of “fascist” Republicans after 1947) is a disingenuous construction of the moderate men, organic conservative supporters of the New Deal; we do better to examine antidemocratic narratives and myths (Narcissus and Icarus, the apocalyptic sublime) extant since the emergence of science and democracy in ancient Greece, intensified after the Reformation and the invention of the printing press and the popular revolutions that followed.

For the moderate conservatives, Melville was the charismatic specter of the artisan autodidact/the romantic Wandering Jew, bearer of empiricism, freethought, dissent, republicanism, and internationalism. During the 1930s, at the same time that Hitler was constructed by scholars and journalists as a failed artist, narcissist, materialist and clown (the freak of mass culture), crazy Ahab (formerly recognized as abolitionist/Chartist/artist/Melville by many readers) was separated from his creator. New Left critics have tended to follow this conservative nationalist (Jungian) explanation for both fascism and Melville’s downfall; i.e. feminized bourgeois sentimental culture, not the right-wing coalition directed against modernity/the labor movement, explains “totalitarianism” in the twentieth century and Melville’s “crash” after Moby-Dick.

I account for censorship in Melville studies in this context: acting against fanciful “subjectivist” 1920s Melville critics who allegedly conflated autobiography and text, life and art, “objectivist,” fact-finding Melville scholars publishing in the mid-1930s and after have cast doubt on his veracity by (apparently) elevating his status as the “artist” who skillfully transformed plundered “literary sources”; crucially the “second wave” Melville critics have usually rehabilitated the later work (Clarel and Billy Budd). This ploy undermines his accuracy as a reporter of 1. structural antagonisms between the interests of naval officers and common sailors (White-Jacket) and 2. double-binds in supposedly benevolent institutions transmitting incompatible expectations for both truth and (conservative) order (Pierre). Here are potentially irreconcilable conflicts that may not be compromised or moderated; their perception is a threat to the legitimacy of the corporatist liberals; hence explosive issues in the Melville biography (family violence, imputed insanity, the possible existence of an illegitimate half-sister) have been uneasily managed, perhaps to protect the notion that Melville attained genuine (conservative) Enlightenment in his old age after his protracted narcissistic adolescence, his “pathological puritanism” (quoting Henry A. Murray). He could not have been responding to betrayals and structural antagonisms in the real world. In sum, the terms of enlightenment (history, science, progress, facts) have been co-opted by moderate conservatives in the humanities to discredit the radical Enlightenment embodied in the empiricist Melville, who has been reconstructed as a sadder-but-wiser ex-romantic, progressing from destructive Captain Ahab to the prudent Captain Vere.

WORK-IN-PROGRESS: 1. At the request of Pacifica listeners, I have compiled a syllabus and book-length illustrated reader, “Eros and the Middle-Manager,” consisting of radio talks from my series “How Do We Know When We Are Not Fascists?” (1988- ), essays on Melville’s ambivalent identification with the Romantic Wandering Jew (showing the dynamics of his oscillation between fully feeling, freethinking, incorruptible historian/sociologist and melancholic ex-radical), and a monograph that challenges postwar scholarship on Hitler’s psyche, suggesting that conservative nationalist psychoanalysts and political scientists (the progressives), in a distortion of the textual evidence, have disseminated the image of Hitler as an Ahab-ish Bad Jew, the Big Liar: crazy, sadistic, cynical, domineering, contemptuous of the masses, and protean. The gullibility of The People, their bad taste and susceptibility to demagoguery (not economic crisis, class position of the squeezed petit-bourgeoisie, the growing working-class movement, and Left sectarianism, the continuity with Wilhelmine expansionism and imperialism), is held to be the major cause of the Nazi rise to power. (Hitler, however, constructed himself as effective fatherly communicator, not Liar; the Jews, like Filmer’s People, were the Big Liars.) The Reader is evolving into a handbook for democratic communicators. My work suggests new directions for cultural studies, intellectual history, psychoanalysis and counseling, situating personal troubles and family interactions in the broader context of history and politics in the twentieth century, specifically in the social sciences and humanities as managed by “the antifascist liberals,” the moderate men, who, since the mid-1930s have attempted to forge a middle way against the extremes of laissez-faire capitalism and Nazism/Bolshevism (the latter sometimes understood as jacobin democracy/anarchism). Tracking the subtly antidemocratic social relations constructed by “vanguard” corporatists (presenting themselves as genuine liberals) and directed against artists, intellectuals, and autodidacts, is central to the project.
I also have numerous unpublished manuscripts, including a long article on the historiography of Anne Hutchinson and the Antinomian Controversy in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1636-38). All my work is focused on the teaching of the humanities and how ethnopluralism and other irrationalist ideologies have tended to undermine the independence and self-understanding of citizens.


  1. Thank you, Clare, for your insight — much appreciated!

    Comment by churchmouse — September 26, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Reply

  2. Thank you, Clare — most enlightening (no pun intended)!

    Many of us might find it helpful if you were to tell us about the student mindset from your day when you were a teacher to the present — in the context of where society is headed in view of history.

    I enjoy reading your posts and wish you all the very best.

    Comment by churchmouse — September 25, 2014 @ 10:25 pm | Reply

    • I was teaching high school in the late 1950s, and the mood then was the inculcation of Order above all. No one knew how to deal with inner city kids. I can’t tell you where society is headed, except toward more authoritarianism, from both Left and Right. I worry about the dumbing down that will afflict my children and grandchildren.

      Comment by clarelspark — September 25, 2014 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

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