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01 Aug 2017
36 min 36 sec
Audio Overview

 

Levenson: [Are you doing multiple] (cut off)... interviews yourself or am I sort of your interview subject?

 

Grace: Well, we interviewed people within our class. So, I’ve done a couple student interviews, but you’re my first official, non-class member interview. And we’re each only doing one interview this semester, but there are hopes that it may go on in the future. 

 

Signing form of consent.

 

Grace: Thank you so much. And I also, just as a matter of decorum, need to ask, since we’re recording this already, to have your oral consent.

 

Levenson: I give my oral consent to this interview and it’s use as specified in the document. 

 

Grace: Thank you so much. And before we really get into it, is there anything that you want to specifically bring up or talk about?

 

Levenson: No, I want to respond to your sense of the occasion and then we’ll find the areas of emphasis that will suit us.

 

Grace: That sounds great. Ok, and so, my name is Grace Aheron and I am interviewing Professor Michael Levenson for “Oral Histories: Documenting UVa’s Future.” If you could just state your name and spell it for us then we can get started. 

 

Levenson: Michael Levenson. L-E-V-E-N-S-O-N. Professor in the English Department and director for the Institute for the Humanities and Global Cultures. 

 

Grace: Thank you. So, just to start off, how did you first hear about the incident this summer? Were you in Charlottesville? Were you away?

 

Levenson: Well, interestingly, I was in London where I go every summer, bringing 30 to 35 UVA undergraduates to study in a foreign study program. We’ve done it every year. It’s the first time I’ve felt that I shouldn’t be in London. I should be in Charlottesville instead. I heard soon after the event happened by way of email. But what was most striking in my case was that 35 students and a couple of grad students were hearing at the same time. So, we were a little group of UVa people in a colony abroad. And were trying to figure out what we thought of it. And what was most fascinating at the beginning was that there was just so much different information. We each had our own correspondent giving us a view of what happened and that was both troubling, bewildering, but fascinating to try to get together as a community. 

 

Grace: What were those conversations like in that community?

 

Levenson: I think the first thing that happened and probably happened for many people is that it was shock, but also inevitability. Because it seemed such a grand gestures it seemed impossible that it could be undone. Nobody was thinking in those terms. Nobody thought about reinstatement. People had different opinions about whether it was a good thing or a bad thing and there was a lot of struggling to try and decide what had happened, but because information was quite limited, it was mostly speculation in those first days. 

 

Grace: What was your immediate reaction personally?

 

Levenson: I was stunned. I had no idea this was happening and I think what made it particularly confusing in my own case was that I am particularly committed to UVa as a global institution. A lot of what we want to do in the Humanities Institute is to develop partnerships around the world, including and especially in Asia right now. And, as you know, President Sullivan had been traveling in Asia. So I was in a state of mind of hope and confidence thinking that the University was really behind a globalizing initiative. We always talked about it and it looked as if it was really going to happen. So, the shock for me was feeling that something very close to my heart and sense of vocation was suddenly jeopardized. I thought, “What does this mean for a new University resolve?” And a worry, immediately, that something like this would be a long time before we gained momentum. 

 

Grace: And so, I mean, what was it like in the summer as the events progressed and you got more information, being abroad even?

 

Levenson: Well, it was very interesting and really it was unlike anything I had experienced before because one peculiarity that’s very gratifying about this kind of study abroad is that you see the students every day and students who I would get to know only so far in 14 weeks I get to know so well in 4 weeks. And so we know one another and exchange a lot and we become very open with one another. So, the first thing that happened was to see the real difference in opinion. There were students who instinctively felt that anything done by high authority must be true. This immediate confidence that anything so decisive cannot have been wrong, it just was surprising. And then other students hearing different things as I was hearing different things, and then, after a few days, we thought, “Something is wrong here.” And that was a division that wasn’t painful, but it was very visible.

 

Grace: And coming back to UVa in the Fall, how do you feel like your experience has changed?

 

Levenson: I think a lot of us-- this afternoon I was at the demonstration before I came to see you and I was speaking to a grad students who was in Canada when it happened and we were exchanging thoughts about how we longed to be part of the event. Partly because of the cause, but maybe even more profoundly because this one of the rare moments when the community is focused on something together. Even apart from the very traumatic content of it, there was just the fact of community. And because I believe in community so much-- it’s a lot of what guides my life-- I felt torn away from it. And so returning, it was an attempt to belong and rejoin and participate. I came back once in the middle of the summer 6 weeks earlier than I thought because I decided that our new Humanities Institute that was less than a year old, for this second year we should make the future of the University our central concern. So we changed a lot of our programming and I came back and talked to the provost and the deans and a lot of people, people in the faculty senate, asking what we could do together to keep the conversation going. Because it was very clear to everyone that whatever was going to happen institutionally, it was important for the University community to reflect on this and to reflect on it over time. 

 

Grace: I want to come back to talking about the Institute for Humanities because I know that’s kind of your thing, but your comment about community really struck me because that’s something I was thinking about a lot-- Were you?-- Very much so. Especially personal identity within this community because I think this-- a lot of people really came out of the woodwork and this was a very visible showing of our community. Was there any-- could you speak to any feelings of personal identity within this community or your personal experience of community in UVa and how that changed in the events?

 

Levenson: One of the aspects of being a faculty member and professor that isn’t always obvious to people who aren’t doing that line of work is that it’s a very great vocation-- I love it and devote my life to it-- but it’s a very mixed sense I have being a professor means in one sense that you accept an authority. That you take responsibility for being expert in your field and in a great and, I hope, dignified way, you aim to educate people who don’t know what you know so that there is a difference-- a hierarchy-- that is built into education and, for me, I accept the hierarchy, but my whole life is trying to turn hierarchy into equality. That my hope, with every class, is that I begin-- here I am, I wrote the syllabus, I put down the grades, I’m the one who’s supposed to know-- but in the end, we’ll keep talking and talking and we’ll reach some sort of reciprocity where I will learn at least as much from my students as they will learn from me. It may not happen in that semester, it might be over time, and that’s been my sense of my academic career. Students becoming friends, students becoming colleagues. And that event was really an event that said, “Nobody has expertise  and nobody had authority.” And it’s very much organic. It’s unpredictable. And the best you can do is to be very humble and to play and role that seems right at the time. 

 

Grace: Are there particular actions you’ve taken or ways in which you navigate this community that have changed because of this realization? 

 

Levenson: Well, I’m in touch with, you know, undergraduates and grad students who are continuing to take up this cause. Also, talking to you, right now, and that’s part of the activity, too. And I’ve learned, as at today’s demonstration, that I am just one person holding up a sign. I was nobody in particular. And I love that. And I think it’s really important to feel that as a part of community, you don’t have to be a leader. And I think a lot about this because, as you know, the University is very preoccupied with questions of leadership, not just with president Sullivan, but with a new school of leadership. Students are constantly being told that they should become leaders and I have nothings against that, but I know that people should become citizens before they become leaders. And I have real interest in trying to promote citizenship which I think is a little bit forgotten with all the calls to leadership. And that’s the short answer to your question, I found that I just wanted to be a citizen and I wasn’t at all interested in being a leader. 

 

Grace: But, I guess, sort of speaking to you stepping up as a leader, I was present at the Honor Round Table that happened earlier this semester, and you sort of have been targeted as someone who has an opinion or-- I don’t know. Why do you think you were chosen for that, I guess? You weren’t here...?

 

Levenson: Well, it’s a funny thing. It has to do with community and again, it wouldn't always be obvious to people who weren’t living here over time-- students come and go-- but I think in your academic life when you’re committed to research and teaching and students and family, it’s a very complex mix of roles that you take on. And I know that at various times I have become so close to the students that I’ve been teaching and other times not. Other times I’m teaching a big course or I’m on leave and so a couple years go by and I just missed a generation. For whatever reason, right now-- it probably has to do with the fact that my children have finished college and have gone off to lives of their own so I’m really present to the University in ways that I haven’t been in a long time. And I feel that I have may undergraduates who are close to me who are friends. Who guide me, at least as much as I guide them. And it’s extremely exciting. It’s exciting to be a part of that community. I feel that I know them and they know me. And so maybe that’s one reason. I’m much more involved  in the lives of students, I think academically, but also personally. I know them more, I know about lives. 

 

Grace: Can you-- and I wrote this down when you were speaking at the roundtable-- and you said you hoped this year could be a year of communication. Can you speak to that a bit more?

 

Levenson: Yeah, and one of the beautiful things about the events in the last few months was that they happened at a University where we are-- whether we know it or not-- always a community. And there is some tendency for people to be very individualistic and worry about their credentials and resumes alone-- students and faculty-- and you can be very entrepreneurial about yourself. But then you show up in a class room or at this Honor event and you realize, “I’m just part of a group.” And that, to me, is thrilling, just to feel that universities can offer that. But it only works if people stay in contact with one another and don’t decide in advance that they know and keep listening. It’s part of what happened in London. I learned to much from what the students brought back. They’d say, “Oh, I just got this message from Hillary Hurd,” you know, there were a number of students who knew Hillary, and they were hearing what she was going through and what she was saying, and realizing that coming to a judgement was a pretty complicated thing. And that is takes patience with communication. 

 

Grace: I’m definitely in my mind drawing connections between what you’re saying about community and, you know, realizing this real community at UVa and communication amongst them. Because oftentimes students and faculty live in their own little worlds. 

 

Levenson: We’ve been talking about that a lot in our institute and one thing that I’m sure has struck you is that you’re an undergraduate and now you’re here talking to a professor and you’re in your undergraduate life and I’m in my professorial life and there are graduates in their graduate lives and there so side-by-side, all these communities. And sometimes, you feel that they’re just passing one another by. And actually I’ve been talking to Hillary Hurd because I know her well, too, and she has this idea that people live their academic lives and live their club and service lives and they just go in different places. Clubs and classes seem to have nothing to do with one another. So it’s something we’ve been trying to puzzle through-- what do they have to do with one another? And then, really working hard to break out of the isolation of the different groups. Just today I was talking to someone that’s a part of our group and there will be dinners after the turn of the year just between grads and undergrads at the University museum just so people can get out of a TA/student relation which is the way you usually know a grad student if you’re an undergrad. And you’re so close in age, there’s so much you could say to one another. 

 

Grace: All this talk seems to appropriate coming from someone who champions the humanities. And, so, I guess this would be a good time to ask you about how you draw the connection between being so involved in the humanities and the events of the summer or as they’ve played out this year. 

 

Levenson: I didn’t expect that I would want to do this job with the Institute for Humanities and now I’m so glad. I’m enjoying it so very much. And I think what I learned when I took on the job was that I had to figure out what the humanities were since I was going to be directing the Institute of the Humanities-- what were they? And I realized that it’s a very recent term for describing these majors that are related to one another. Like yours, Religious Studies, or mine, English or Classics or Philosophy or Art History. It was really after World War II that universities started to call these areas “the humanities” and that makes sense and it’s a good shorthand abbreviation, but really, what we mean by “the humanities” when we talk about free inquiry and self-critique and openness to knew knowledge and a willingness to challenge authority in pursuit of the truth, those are virtues across the liberal arts. So, for me, humanities has a double-meaning. It does mean those traditional disciplines that we think of, but it also means all of the liberal arts. You know, anyone who isn’t here just for the practical desire to get a practical degree. That’s a bit of a separate vocation, but for all of us, including the people who are studying Physics, we’re all in the humanities, in that sense. And so, for me, that’s where our institute comes in. We really want to promote this kind of communication and reflection for everyone at the University. And sort of to force this question of “Who’s in the humanities?” One of our events right after Thanksgiving I’m really excited about it, is going to be called “Voice and Virtuality” and it’s about what is the status of just the kind of conversation we’re having in the new age of virtual teaching. So, we’re bringing over this guy who’s been the accent coach for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Britain and he’s coming over to talk about voice because Shakespearians need to project their voice in the theater. And then Lou Bloomfield-- you know him, in Physics-- is going to be one of the first “SARA Courses” online next term. He’s going to be at this meeting as well and he’s going to talk about-- I hope he’s going to talk about what he expects when you move from the powerful thing he does in a classroom to doing it on a screen. And to me, these are issues that are as pertinent to Lou Bloomfield the physicist as to the people who teach Shakespeare. 

 

Grace: And, I wonder, would you say the founding of the Institute for Humanities is a reaction to anything in particular? Maybe beyond just deeming certain things “humanities”? I’m kind of getting at the STEM, emphasis on science and technology, and, in my opinion, maybe productivity?

 

Levenson: You’re right. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I think it’s a funny story because really it was almost ten years that a number of us were working for some kind of humanities center and we would get really close. We’d be told, “Oh, we just have to raise one more gift and we’ll have it” and then it fell through. And I really gave up on it, I was on leave in England when I got this email saying, “We’re gonna have a Humanities Institute. Would you want to be a candidate for the director?” And I was surprised. So, in one sense, it was really a long struggle that finally occurred. It was really independent of a lot of other things. It was a nice gift from the Clay foundation that really made it possible. But, when we had a new administration including President Sullivan who’s from the social sciences and Provost Simon who’s a chemist and Dean Woo who is a social scientist, really we had a university administration that did not have humanists at the top. And after 20 years I guess it was where President Casteen was from this department and was a professor in the English department and in some ways we felt that the humanities were always represented in authority, that was gone. But, really splendidly, the president and the provost and the dean have been super enthusiastic about the Humanities Institute. And they aren’t doing that just to be nice. They really do see the point of a balanced university and I think they really see it the way I was describing to you. That the humanities are not just about a few department, but that it belongs to the University as a whole. 

 

Grace: So, it doesn’t sound like you’re too frightened for the future of humanities in the modern university. 

 

Levenson: No, no I think we really have the wind at our back. And I think a lot of people around the world are getting together and trying to think about how we do need the humanities. You know, I talk to people in the business school, people who are doing applied science, and they are even-- they see the need to know what you study. You need to know about world religions, say. You need to know about the history of faith. You need to know about other cultures. You need to have a sense of your own nation’s history. Because what kind of person do you want to be? We’re not robots. We have to know ourselves. And that’s not restricted to people who study philosophy or religion. 

 

Grace: Well, it warms my heart that you say that.

Levenson: Well, I’m glad. I’m so glad. 

 

Grace: It’s an area close to me-- close to my heart. It kind of struck me that-- it was interesting and maybe this is me pigeon-holing people too much-- but someone who is very involved in the humanities is holding a panel about virtual classes and technology. Because-- and I think I appreciate that in you, that you’re not going to be hard-line traditionalist about, “Humanities can only happen...” I mean, what are you opinions on this digitization of classes?

 

Levenson: Yeah, well that’s a good question. I’m sure you think about it a lot too because it’s happening so suddenly. And that’s part of the surprise. You know, I think personally, and maybe it’s because I study modernism and modern cultures, I’ve seen the power of living up to the new, which is really important to repeat and a lot of the greatest literature was made by people who were just risk-takers and defiant. And were just trying to make something that had never been seen before and that’s really exhilarating to me. So, I’m set up to be looking to the future. I think it would be just wrong to say, “Oh, I’m sorry, you know, you have to have these dusty books and it’s disgusting for anybody to have Facebook” or whatever that kind of line could be. But it seems, you know, to me what I think is exciting to think about is that it’s not just that we have to confront the new future of virtual education. We also have to figure out what we’re doing in the non-virtual education and there’s kind of an assumption that, “Oh, we know that.” You know, we’ve been doing that-- but in fact it’s so different. Now we have a much larger university, it’s so diverse, the fields are changing. You know how it’s like-- in classes. Some classes work and some classes don’t. And that tells you that it can’t just be that we have to figure out how to get online. We have to figure out how to do it in the classroom. And that’s kind of my pitch. Let’s just do both things. Let’s concentrate on the entire education experience.

 

Grace: That’s probably the most satisfactory answer that I’ve gotten from someone about these online classes because, I will admit, I was skeptical. So, thank you very much. 

 

Levenson: Well, the other positive side, I don’t know if you thought about this-- and I am skeptical, too, because you feel that there’s a business opportunity that really makes too coarse what goes one and what’s really profound in education. Then you think of someone in the mountains of Nepal who’s never had a chance to hear a lecture on these subjects. And that happens. So that part of it, I think, is really worth accepting and promoting.

 

Grace: So, just more broadly, I guess, what other issues do you feel are still sort of hanging in the air in the wake of this summer? Online classes has been a big one, I think, humanities has been, you know, involved.

 

Levenson: For me what has been the biggest one and I’m almost embarrassed to say it-- it sounds, in a way, just my group that’s asserting itself, but I think the faculty should be the center of any university. I think that, again, not as a group of leaders, but a group of citizens. But the faculty really gives the pure content to the academic inspiration and, to me, that’s the thing I worry about with universities becoming corporate and top-down. People at the top can think they know. And it’s not as if faculty are not annoying-- I mean, people talk to much, they do. You get used to talking, so we can be annoying. But, it’s just the heart of the university has to be in its faculty. You know, for me, my life is teaching students, but I also know that it’s about colleagues who really accept responsibility for carrying on and making a tradition out of it. And I think that’s what’s the quiet struggle going on now. Will the faculty get respect-- can we be a self-governing faculty?

 

Grace: Yeah, just on that note, can you speak to what the atmosphere of the faculty is sort of like right now? And if you see a direction?

 

Levenson: Well, it’s not in a good place right now because even though I’m optimistic about everything-- that’s just the way I am-- and I look at my friends and a lot of them just feel confused. You know, there are people hear that have had their salaries frozen for years and years and it’s not selfishness that motivates that. They’re trying to raise families and so on. So, they feel-- it’s almost a stunned sense. They don’t know what to do next. And my hope is that we can just break that structure of trauma, really, and let people get extremely hopeful. I think faculty need very little. Students need very little. Somebody comes to you and says, “Look, we have $1,000 and you can put on this conference and go travel and climb things” and that doesn’t break the university. You can just start to acknowledge faculty and students and give them inexpensive opportunities to acknowledge their sense of commitment and conviction. I think that would be great. 

 

Grace: Well, I think this has really covered a lot of what I wanted to talk about with you-- I’m glad, I’m glad-- is there anything else that you feel particularly called to mention?

 

Levenson: Well, I just have a question, and this can be outside of your official interview, but I’m wondering what the outcome of the project will be. A good number of you will be conducting interviews and then depositing them. Do you work on them as documents that you interpret or exchange?

 

Grace: Yes, there are about 20 people in the class, all of whom have been interviewed themselves and all of whom are interviewing outside people. And we have really tried to get a cross-section of the community. So, between staff and alumni and students and faculty members. And then these recordings and transcriptions will all be going into this “digital media library” which I have been told is really a growing thing. So, talk about trajectory of technology into the future. And then we’re all sharing these with each other, interpreting them, reading them. And then, sort of making our own conclusions. 

 

Levenson: There will be a lot, I’m sure. You’ll know things in that class that nobody else knows. But, if you don’t mind, what got you interested in the class? Was it the sense of the events that had happened or the technology? Or what would you say?

 

Grace: Well, it’s funny, this class was sort of a brainchild of John Alexander and myself. This summer, I was teaching in Boston-- I was teaching 8th graders-- and I got the email and the next day I immediately called John. I’m a part of Dialogue Across UVa and I said, “John, we have to do something.” And it we more just that I saw how the community was galvanized-- similar to what you were saying-- and I was thinking, “We need to strike while the iron is hot. Look at everyone that’s come out.” This sense of community that is surrounding this event-- what can we do with that? So, I wanted to hold a second “Day of Dialogue”-- but, I don’t know, people who were on the planning team of Dialogue Across UVa thought that that may be a little bit much, so, I don’t know I haven’t given up on that yet. 

 

Levenson: I’m glad you haven’t! I was hoping for more. I think we’ve had some good events, but I’d like even more. And, you know, I think there was a little bit of confusion. Nobody knew exactly how to present the continuing community, so, in a way, it’s been in fits and starts. 

 

Grace: And what was most striking to me, I guess, was that students were like, “Wow, there are so many people at these rallies, and we’re not there.” There are so many other people that care deeply about this place that we don’t daily interact with. So, long story short, the class sort of came out of this need to students to do something. To record this, to preserve this moment. I am not totally-- I don’t love the idea of just oral histories and interview because I don’t think it facilitates interaction and dialogue in the same way that dialogue does-- we’re doing that right now. So, I guess, I’m still hopeful. I don’t know, I really want to hold another Day of Dialogue to bring in everyone in the community. And even not if specifically about this event, then, I just feel like this is a very precious moment we are in right now. 

 

Levenson: I would be really happy and eager to work with you. There are a lot of people who are associated with our Humanities Institute that, I think, think the way you do, so let me know if that’s something you’d want to work on. 

 

Grace: We’re meeting tomorrow and I’m actually going to pitch it again. I think people are fearful of the scale of the Day of Dialogue part one. I mean, people were on staff for that committee, but, funnily enough there weren’t any students that were on the committee that planned Day of Dialogue and so, in my mind, it’s like, “So, we rent some rooms, we send out some emails and we recruit, and we make it happen!” It doesn’t seem that hard to me. So, yeah, I will definitely be in touch about that and thank you for offering. And, I think, part of the reason I wanted to interview you was things you had said really resonated with me about, just the broader issues of what are going on here beyond just...

 

Levenson: I mean, I am just always-- I always want more because I think there’s so much that’s possible. And right now, I just don’t know exactly what it would take to have people come together again. You know, partly it’s that there’s no exact focus as there was in June. That’s regrettable in some ways, but it’s good in other ways because people just get together because they believe in the collective work. 

 

Grace: And it really spoke to me what you were saying about talking with Hillary about, “We have extracurriculars and we have academics and we’re going to do these two things.” So, how do we integrate academics-- what we’re doing-- and a sense of community in a such a way that you couldn’t possible not care about these sort of things. 

 

Levenson: Because, in a way, universities are very distinct societies and things can happen in a university space that are unlikely to happen elsewhere. And sometimes people don’t reflect that way. You’re just going through getting your degree, but you’re actually in a community-- a society-- for these years and there’s a chance to make it a model society. 

 

Grace: And, I mean, this is another question for you, I guess. There’s such a rich history of activism happening on college campuses. Would you say, just maybe having more of that in your lifetime than I have, would you say that the atmosphere has changed? You know, there’s not that much student activism going on around this event. Would you point that to some sort of issues of our generation or is it the event more?

 

Levenson: Yeah, it’s interesting to me because, as I said, I was just there with this essentially grad student event and, you know, it was very powerful, there were maybe 35, 40, 45 people there who were really committed, but that’s a small group compared to what could have been there. And, you know, I could see, and I’ve been in a fair number of demonstrations in my life and I always find them powerful-- really important-- but always you feel self-conscious in them. You think, “Who am I?” You’re holding up a sign and thinking, “I hope nobody sees me.” And so there’s something about that, you know, I think a lot of people who don’t have a background with it think it will be just so awkward and so goofy and what’s the point. So there’s a whole language of alienation from that kind of collective endeavor. And that seems really sad to me because I think you learn so much when you get together, even in that awkward self-conscious way. In some ways, it’s more powerful because you’re awkward and self-conscious because you’re not really sure what to do. I found it really personally powerful because I was there with the students and they walked over to the Harrison Institute and the idea was to confront the Board of Visitors at some point and to go into their meeting and to read out their list of demands. And I had decided that I wasn’t going to do that last part, for whatever reason, I may be at a different point in my life. But I wasn’t going to do that last part. So, it was interesting to learn about myself. How far I was willing to go in demanding, resisting, and contesting. And then when I felt I had just come to a line that, at least today, I wasn’t willing to cross. 

 

Grace: We, in the class, are reading-- or have read-- this book called Hope in the Darkness by Rebecca Solnit and it struck me that you possess a lot of hope in darkness and in this activism. Could you speak more to that? Because, I don’t know, our professors seemed to draw this line between-- like a generational divide. Like, “We were part of this-- you know, we’re just very cynical and you’re a very hopeful generation,” but I would put you as part of their generation and you seem to adopt more of the hopefulness. 

 

Levenson: Well, hope is a pretty funny experience and attitude when you think about it. I would hate the idea of being hopeful if it seemed false. If it was just cheering myself up or cheering up my children or friends or students trying to say that things aren’t so bad. That would be just Pollyanna and I’m hopeful because that’s how I look at the world. I’ve had just so many experiences where you feel-- a lot of them are educational experiences-- where I feel totally inspired by students who are just interested in subjects for their own sake and because it’s illuminating and edifying and because they can become better people and help make others flourish. And that, to me, is so basic to the human experience and I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it again and again with friends and family and students. And who could not be hopeful? You know? You see that and the evidence is clear. It’s just a question of how can there be enough of that. I know that there are reasons to be hopeful. Is the hope strong enough to fight against the cynicism? You know, you’re in a generation where a lot of people scramble-- are they going to find a job because you don’t want to move home with your parents. And all of these anxieties that people have and it just, you know, breaks my heart to realize that fear can become much more dominant than the hope. 

 

Grace: And debilitating in terms of action. 

 

Levenson: Yeah, it’s so easy once you get in the habit of not acting. You just stop acting. 

 

Grace: Sit back and point fingers. Yeah, that’s really interesting. Well, I think that has covered far and beyond-- 

 

Levenson: It’s been great to talk to you and great to meet you. I really enjoying meeting you and talking to you.

 

Grace: Thank you very much and I will definitely be in touch about--

 

Levenson: And, well, you know, I am always pushing out humanities work so if you wanted to be involved in any way, let me know. Because I think there are some fun things we’re going to be doing that I hope will be meaningful. 

 

Grace: Yeah, absolutely, I will definitely keep my eye out even more than I have been.