Guest Lecture by Katherine Chen, Assistant Professor of Sociology, The City College of New York and The Graduate Center, CUNY. “Enabling Creative Chaos: The Organization behind the Burning Man Event.” Thursday, April 9th, 2009, at 12:15 pm (food served at noon) in 206 AEC.
The annual Burning Man arts festival is a countercultural phenomenon that interests popular culture enthusiasts, innovators, environmentalists, social scientists, and management specialists. Enabling Creative Chaos examines how a small group transformed itself into an unconventional corporation with a $10-million budget and 2,000 volunteers. Founded on a commitment to expression and community, Burning Man drew almost 50,000 people to an isolated Nevada desert in the summer of 2008. Katherine Chen, a sociologist who participated in organizing activities during four years, will present a lecture explaining how organizers experimented with different management models; learned how to recruit, motivate, and retain volunteers; and developed strategies to handle regulatory agencies and the media. Professor Chen’s book on Burning Man is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in Fall 2009. Sponsored by the Anthropology and Sociology Department, the American Studies Department, and the Environmental Science Program