EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionTheory & Practice

Hannah and Me: Understanding Politics in Dark Times

Contrary to the suggestion of my informal title, I did not study with Hannah Arendt, nor were we ever colleagues, although I missed both experiences only by a bit. I was a graduate student in the early 1970s in one of the universities where she last taught, the University of Chicago, and my first and only long term position, at the New School for Social Research, was her primary American academic home.

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Arendt, Eichmann, and Thoughtlessness

According to Arendt’s emphatic and paradoxical thesis, [Eichmann] was an enemy of humanity from “thoughtlessness.” “It was a sheer thoughtlessness — something by no means identical with stupidity — that predisposed him to become one of the greatest criminals of that period” (285; G: 57).* This (and only this) is what the phrase regarding the “banality of evil” was meant to capture. 

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionRaceRace/isms

The Muslims are Coming! Video of Arun Kundani’s Lecture

Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic war on terror

This lecture by Arun Kundani, Adjunct Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, was part of the NSSR Sociology Lecture Series. It took place on February 9, 2015, in the Wolff Conference Room of the Vera List Academic Center at 6 E. 16th St. in New York.

Over the last few years, it has become increasingly apparent that Muslims in the U.S. are being subjected to systematic surveillance by law enforcement agencies. How does this surveillance relate to the longer histories of surveillance in the U.S.? How can we understand the construction of Muslims in the U.S. as a racial “other”? …

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Arts & DesignEssays

An Interview with Amos Oz on Literature, Judaism and Zionism

A conversation with the Israeli author Amos Oz, conducted on November 12th in the guesthouse of the Hamburg Senate, upon receiving the first Siegfried-Lenz Prize.

NF: Bruchim Habaim leHamburg! — Welcome to Hamburg!

AO: Thank you very much. Being the first recipient of the Siegfried Lenz literary award is a great honor but also a very deep sadness, because we have lost Siegfried Lenz just a few weeks ago, and I was so much hoping that he will be the one who will hand me the award. …

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EssaysMedia/Publics

Amusing Ourselves to Life

I am in mourning and in withdrawal. I am losing my two nightly sanity fixes, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. I’m left with my morning fixes: running, swimming and cycling. Sleeping will become more of a problem. I published this piece a number of years ago in Deliberately Considered. I might want to expand on it, exploring the importance of televised political satire and the American social condition. 

Neil Postman was a famous media critic. He thought that the problem with television was not its content but its formal qualities as a medium. It presented a clear and present danger. …

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Arts & DesignEssaysMedia/Publics

9/11 and the Visual Culture of Disaster

I remember the week after September 11, 2001, when the subway from Brooklyn into Lower Manhattan was back in limited service, getting off at Broadway-Lafayette and feeling somewhat disoriented when my usual landmark indicating south, the World Trade Center, was missing from the downtown skyline. The specter of the World Trade Center was soon enough evoked by Art Speigelman in his September 24, 2001, New Yorker magazine cover of the Twin Towers as black silhouettes against a black background. The Twin Towers haunted the New York skyline again a few months later in the Tribute in Light installation of 88 search lights configured in the buildings’ original footprints and projected upward into the night…

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

An Uncanny Era of Post-revolution (1989-2014)

Today’s post comes to us via the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies blog. -J.G.

On November 10, 2014, TCDS, partnering with the Polish Cultural Institute, hosted An Uncanny Era of Post-revolution (1989-2014) at The New School. Second in the series of events marking the 25th anniversary of the dismantling of Communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, An Uncanny Era was the launch of two books and a three-way discussion between Elzbieta Matynia, Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies at NSSR, who presented her new book An Uncanny Era: Conversations between Vaclav Havel and Adam Michnik; Irena Grudzinska-Gross of Princeton University, editor of a recent collection of Michnik’s essays on the era, The Trouble with History; and Adam Michnik…

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EssaysIn DepthTheory & Practice

A Continuing Conversation: From the Archiv to Social Research

The Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research was founded in 1933 by Alvin Johnson, the president of the New School, who created there the “University in Exile” to provide a safe haven for scholars who were endangered by totalitarian regimes.[1] The University in Exile became necessary after the new National Socialist government in Germany immediately promulgated a “law” on April 7, 1933, the Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums (Restoration of Civil Service Act), which was used as an instrument to dismiss civil servants either for racial or political reasons. …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & Gender

LGBTQI Rights and Brazil’s Presidential Election

Controversy and the necessity to go beyond elections

For the first time in Brazil’s recent democratic history, which began in 1984 after the country’s twenty-one-year long dictatorship ended, the LGBTQI rights have appeared as the main controversial topic in this year’s presidential election. In the space of two weeks during the election first round, the topic got more attention and at a broader length than perhaps it has had previously in any of the eight democratically elected governments of the past. …

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Essays

Call for International Solidarity against War in Rojava

An emergency call to all women struggling for peace! Take action against the massacre in Rojava.

Women’s Initiative for Peace urges ALL women’s organizations struggling for peace worldwide to launch actions and organize demonstrations on Sunday, September 28th (and if this date is too early, any time before or on October 1st) wherever you are located. 

The images of Kurdish female fighters of YPJ have been widely circulated in various media covering the war against Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) in Rojava. Celebrated for the bravery, the Kurdish female guerrilla force has been the forefront in the struggle against patriarchy and against the Islamic State’s targeting, slaughtering and enslaving of women. The women in Rojava, who are not only fighters, but also peacekeepers, leaders, or simply women, are much more than figures that terrify the IS gangs, who believe that they won’t be rewarded with heaven if killed by a woman in battle. They stand for a hope for a different form of governance in the region. Yet, Rojava now is facing a massacre. IS gangs has besieged Kobanê on three separate fronts. …

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