National Museum of African American History and Culture © John Sonderman | Flickr
DemocracyEssaysFeatureRace

Against Exceptionalism, Beyond Triumphalism

On 13 April 1943, on the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial to the nation’s third president. Facing a sharp wind blowing in from the Potomac, the president admired the heroic statue and read the famous words that grace the interior walls of the building: “All Men Are Created Equal.” In the midst of a global war against fascism, Roosevelt proclaimed that the Jefferson Memorial would stand as “a shrine to freedom,” dedicated to a man who bent his entire life to the proposition that “men are capable of their own …

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Pro Democracy rallies around Poland, BYDGOSZCZ, 19 December 2015 © Jaap Arriens | Flickr
DemocracyElection ForumEssaysFeature

Thoughts on the Hungarian and Polish New Right in Power

Eviscerating the Constitutional Court and purging the judiciary, complete politicization of the civil service, turning public media into a government mouthpiece, restricting opposition prerogatives in parliament, unilateral wholesale change of the Constitution or plain violation of it, official tolerance and even promotion of racism and bigotry, administrative assertion of traditional gender norms, cultural resurrection of authoritarian traditions, placing loyalty over competence in awarding state posts, surveillance without check — with such policies and more, right-wing governments in Hungary and Poland …

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Plato, Athens 2011 © Tilemahos Efthimiadis | Flickr
DemocracyElection ForumEssaysFeature

Want to Understand Right-Wing Rage? Go Back to Plato

The rise of right-wing political parties on both sides of the Atlantic has proved almost incomprehensible to mainstream political commentators. How can modern people in an integrated, cosmopolitan world embrace localism, racialism, and tribal identity?

The migrant crisis, and attacks perpetrated by Muslim terrorists, are commonly cited as reasons for right-wing parties’ successes in Europe. Likewise it has been suggested that the right wing in the United States favors protectionist policies in response to lost manufacturing jobs. …

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Diane Arbus' Nikon F, 2013 © Floris van Halm | Flickr
Arts & DesignFeatureReviews

Ordinary Uncanniness: The Early Photographs of Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus: In the Beginning, an exhibition at The Met Breuer, 945 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10021, July 12 through November 27, 2016

Like the painter Francis Bacon and the illustrator Ralph Steadman, Diane Arbus’s photographic art has often been associated with the grotesque, the disconcerting, the alien. Her haunting photos of steely-pale-eyed …

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Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, September 2011 © CIFOR | Flickr

Photo by Rini Sulaiman for CIFOR

Center for International Forestry Research
CapitalismFeatureReviewsTheory & Practice

Friction

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing has just published a brilliant book on the global trade in a certain kind of mushroom. As much as I’d like to report on it, I feel like I have to get my head around a previous landmark work of hers before attempting it. Here I’m thinking of her book Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection (Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 2005). 

Tsing: “Capitalism, science, and politics all depend on global connections….

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Kathryn Hahn as 'Chris' in I Love Dick
Media & PublicsReviewsSex & Gender

I Love Dick

My prayer to the TV gods when the pilot of I Love Dick screened was “please, let it not suck!” My concern was mostly for the author of the book of the same name on which it is based – Chris Kraus. I want people to read her books. Fortunately, the TV version turned out to be its own, different, interesting thing. Hopefully Amazon will order more of it and turn it into a series. Hopefully it will steer a few more readers to the book on which it is based.

I felt a bit protective of it, for no justifiable reason, …

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Public Seminar ReviewVolume 1, Issue 2
Second Semester/Summer 2014

The second semester of the Public Seminar is over, and the papers are now in, presented in this our second issue. Here you find short and long essays, supplemented by visual presentations around five major themes: Capitalism and its Alternatives, Democracy and its Enemies, Identities, the Arts and Literature, and Media, Memory and Miscellaneous. Note, though, that the pieces in fact address each other between and among these categories, as they consider “fundamental problems of the human condition and pressing problems of the day, using the broad resources of social research,” staying true to the mission statement of Public Seminar, and to the scholarly and public project of our academic home, The New School for Social Research. -Jeffrey Goldfarb

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