Harman Writer-In-Residence, Fall 1999
Jane Kramer, the author and journalist, is the Fall 1999 Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence at Baruch College. Ms. Kramer is the European correspondent for The New Yorker and writes the celebrated “Letter from Europe” for the magazine. She is the author of eight books: Off Washington Square; Allen Ginsberg in America; Honor to the Bride; The Last Cowboy; Unsettling Europe; Europeans; Whose Art Is It?; and The Politics of Memory. She is currently finishing a book about a militia in the American West.
Ms. Kramer has won, among many other awards and prizes, an American Book Award, a National Magazine Award, a Front Page Award, and an Emmy Award; in 1993, she was the first American and the first woman to win the Prix Européen de l’Essai, Europe’s most prestigious award for non-fiction. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the New York Institute for the Humanities, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a founding board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists. She has taught at Princeton and most recently was the Regents Professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Ms. Kramer graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College and received a master’s degree in English at Columbia University before starting her career in journalism. She spent a year at The Village Voice, joined The New Yorker in 1964–and stayed. She divides her time between Europe and New York, where her husband, the anthropologist Vincent Crapanzano, is a Distinguished Professor at CUNY’s Graduate Center. (July 1999)
“He spent the war in Dresden, and he remembers the bombings. He can smell the asphalt melting and the first corpses, and the piles of bodies waiting to be burned, but he says that he can’t turn those memories into “commemoration” or else he’d have to talk about who bombed first and commemorate Coventry and Leningrad, and then he’d have to go on commemorating — Sarajevo, Rwanda, Chechnya — and in the end he wouldn’t be any closer to the mystery of the Holocaust, or of any holocaust, or to the question that haunts him: “How did this happen in the middle of Europe in a “civilized” century?”
–From The Politics of Memory
Jane Kramer’s most recent book, Lone Patriot: The Short Career of an American Militiaman, was published by Random House in 2002. It has been regarded as a “well-drawn, superbly reported narrative of the Washington Militia” by the New York Times and other publications. Ms. Kramer writes the Letter from Europe at The New Yorker. Her most recent article, The Hungry Travellers, profiles food writers Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid and their culinary projects and travels. In 2006, Kramer was named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in France. (June 2009)