ABOUT THE RED FEATHER INSTITUTE
The Red Feather Institute was born out of the radical politics of the 1960's.
With the election of Richard Nixon in 1968, it became clear that he would move to
dismantle the social movements for radical, transforming political and economic
consciousness in the USA. The over-arching purpose of the Institute then became to provide
a structural base for emancipatory and transforming knowledge in the Rocky mountain area.
The assumption was that, absent a social base in social life, alienated understandings
would suffuse the public sphere and private opinion. Several colleagues at Colorado State
University discussed the trend and, as a result of further discussion at a 4th of July
picnic in 1971 in the backyard of Tom Harblin, decided to found the Red Feather Institute.
Tim Lehmann, Wendell Ott and T.R. Young joined with Tom to set the goals and structure of
the Institute. T. R. Young became its first and only Director as well as the President of
the corporation which holds title to its publications.
The first headquarters and first conference of the Institute were at a lakeside cottage in a small resort village, Red Feather Village, 40 miles north and west of Ft. Collins; two hours north and west of Denver. A picturesque mountain community, Red Feather Lakes is nestled in a landscape of boulders and lakes west of Highway 287. The town was named for "Princess" Tsianini Redfeather, a operatic singer who was part Cherokee and part Creek. Princess Red Feather had been on tour with a small troupe and had appeared on stage in this small mountain town. The people liked her so much that the town was renamed after her. Princess Red Feather also toured England and Europe with her operatic sketches.
T.R. Young and others later built a Lodge and living facilities in the Rocky
Mountains between 1973 and 1977. The Institute was moved to Michigan in 1988 after Young
left Colorado State University. Garth Massey, U/Wyoming, joined the Institute in
1986: he helped build and support RFI activities since and will take over RF Instititute
when Young retires.
GOALS: The original goals of the Institute were fourfold:
1.To reflect upon and to improve the emancipatory capacity of American Sociology.
To date, the Institute has circulated over 185 articles in the Transforming Sociology Series.
2.To encourage a network of radical, emancipatory scholarship in the Rocky Mountain region.
While in Colorado, The Institute organized 2 to 4 conferences each year bringing in such people as: William Domhoff, James F. O'Connor, Stanley Aronowitz, Barbara Ehrenreich, and many others to inform some 2-300 socialist and feminist scholars in the Rocky Mountain Area.
Conference topics were wide ranging and included: Critical Theory and Ethnomethodology, Dramaturgical Analysis, Phenomenology, Feminist theory, Symbolic Interactional Theory, forms of feminist activism, child care, health care, Cuba, China, mass media, politics and religion, conflict methodology, and cultural marxism.
3.To provide alternate lectures, bibliographies and syllabi for young sociologists and graduate students in American colleges.
Some fifteen thousand copies of articles and syllabi have been circulated under the auspices of the Institute to young sociologists free of charge.
In 1996, Young began a three year Lecture Series on the Socgrad Network...those lectures and occasional new lecture outlines are on-line at the Red Feather Institute domain.
4.To organize for emancipatory social relations in the Rocky Mountain region.
Members of the Red Feather Collective worked to support boycotts, orchestrate anti-war demonstrations, encourage student power, facilitate women's movement in the area as well as foster civil rights for Afro-Americans and Chicano students.
ORGANIZATION: Its programs are organized by changing sets of persons who sponsor conferences or invite speakers in consultation with the Director of the Institute. T. R. Young is the current Director and edits the Transforming Sociology Series. He is responsible for the day to day operations of the Institute.The Institute is now a private business whose sole proprietor is T. R. Young. Change from a public not-for-profit educational foundation was made in 1992 for tax purposes and to simplify accounting.
FUNDING: The Institute is self supporting and has never sought federal funds. Donations and sale of publications supported it in the first ten years. Proceeds from the sale of the Lodge and other buildings provided regular income until 1994. It now depends upon income generated by T. R. Young for both daily operations and for programs.
Note: In 1998, Young annuitized several small investments set up by the several Universities at which Young taught since leaving Colorado in 1988. These annuities now provide regular income. which will end with the death of Young.
Current Programs There are three current programs; one providing seed money to enable small colleges and universities in the area to bring radical, emancipatory scholarship to their students.
The second program centers around The Transforming Sociology Series. It offers its publications at cost to members of scholarly societies and are free to graduate students and third world scholars in sociology. Its publications include lectures by T.R. Young on the Socgrad Network and articles available on the Red Feather HomePage.
A third program provides an outlet for Black Sociology. Those who do participatory research and provide emancipatory knowledge to the black underclass or to black communities are especially encourage to send their work to the Series Editor, Theo. Manley at DePaul University in Chicago.
In the past year, the RFI has initiated a special Award for graduate students who do progressive scholarship and who promise to be the next generation of critical and humanist sociologists.
Current Activity: In the late 80's, T.R. Young recognized that it would be helpful to progressive politics were he able to connect Marxist/feminist/critical theory to new findings in complexity theory and the nonlinear social dynamics entailed. Trying to approach the topics of class, crime, change as well as the knowledge process as would Marx were he alive today, Young is reworking these topics to show much deeper connections in variable causal patterns.
At present Young is working on a quartet of Books to that purpose: The Drama of Social Life has been published by TransAction Books. It offers a postmodern understanding of social psychology using the same sweep of history and the same political economy to ground social psychology as did Marx. The other three, under completion include, The Drama of Social Enquiry, which presents a postmodern philosophy of science grounded on Complexity theory; The Drama of Human Knowledge, which reconnects modern, pre-modern and postmodern missions and methods of understanding in a larger, complementary whole; and finally, the Drama of the Holy, a postmodern understanding of religion and theology as entirely necessary and entirely human work shaped and pre-shaped by class, race, and ethnic dynamics.
In 1996, Steve Cavrak and David Langer, U/Vermont, helped create a webpage for the Red Feather Institute. Unfortuately, a development company had already taken the web name, Red Feather, so the name of the RF domain became: www.tryoung.com a distant second choice.
The HomePage has exploded in the last two years to become one of the largest on-line sources for progressive sociology. I am indebted to Don Roper and Martha Gimenez at U/Colorado who put Red Feather Archives on-line in 1994.
Now, the Red Feather Institute offers a variety of materials including a new homepage for Cuban Sociology, a homepage for Chaos Theory and Non-linear Social Dynamics, a homepage for FROM THE LEFT, the Official Newsletter of the Marxist Section of the ASA.
Dragan Milovanovic, Bruce Arrigo and Stuart Henry joined the Red Feather Institute to create a homepage for Postmodern Criminology. Anna Zajicek, University of Arkansas, and TR Young created a homepage for graduate sociology, the first issue of which was edited by David Redman of Texas Woman's University.
Several Sociologists around the country are Associate Editors for an Undergrad Sociology Journal, under construction.
New resources are added continuously.
TR Young, Director, July 1998
The Red Feather Institute for Advanced Studies in Sociology
does business at:
Weidman Michigan, 48893.
Fax or Ph  644 3089;
About the Name: The Red Feather Institute is named after the small mountain village in Colorado where the first meetings were held and where TR Young and family lived for 14 years. The town itself was named after Princess Red Feather, a Cherokee woman who visited the village in the 1920's...Princess Red Feather was an Operatic Diva and travelled to resort towns in the Rocky Mountains and elsewhere--with a troupe which presented selections from various popular operas. People in the village liked her so much they renamed the town after her. While in England a friend, Janet Turner, herself actress and singer, showed me a book on European Opera in which Princess Red Feather and her troupe were featured.
The name also makes reference to the Red Feather above book, magazine and news shops in Paris and Elsewhere...as a signal of radical, transforming scholarship. The old Community Chest logo, too, was a Red Feather...we like to think that we also serve neglected sectors of American communities.