Brooklyn Institute for Social Research -
  • What is poetry, and what is it good for? Today, poetry is often pronounced dead. Yet at the same time, we remain, to cite the New York Times, “poetry curious.” We sense, as Aimé Césaire sensed, that poetry encompasses some “greater feeling” that goes uncaptured by scientific classification and explanation. For Audre Lorde, poetry is that “illumination,” which is “already felt,” and yet “formless, about to be birthed.” But how does poetry work? Why is it structurally so different from prose, and what does that have to do with its capability to illuminate, to convey and express notions and sensations otherwise inexpressible in ordinary, practical language? ...
  • While contemporary political discourse is often characterized by heated discussions of liberalism or fascism, socialism or “populism”, the broad category of “conservative” thought seems to take a back seat. This despite its enduring relevance not only for understanding political history and the history of political thought, but also as an analytical tool today. What exactly is conservatism? How can we understand a category so capacious as to include both Edmund Burke, often called “father of Modern Conservatism,” and his contemporary, the Catholic reactionary Joseph De Maistre, who was a major influence on the towering 20th-century fascist political philosopher Carl Schmitt? ...
  • Is the novel an intrinsically modern form? Are prose works like Satyricon, Daphnis and Chloe, and The Golden Ass actually ancient novels? These narratives of ancient Greece and Rome offer a kaleidoscopic array of fictions: pastoral tales of erotic exploration; fierce satires of urban life and aristocratic rapacity; fantastical accounts of metamorphosis, abjection, and (maybe) redemption. With their mix of pirates and brigands, magic spells and witches, raunchy sex, divine visitations, mythological fantasias, and riffs on the philosophical tradition, the ancient novel obliterates any easy definition of genre, even as its narrative pleasures redouble. How can we understand the techniques, strategies, and motivations of the ancient novel—a literary object on the one hand formally familiar, on the other, deeply strange? ...
  • Pornography is one of humanity’s oldest, and most enduring artifacts. Variously celebrated and demonized, it has decorated sumptuous palaces and been furtively sold under pain of arrest. In the modern United States, it is kept studiously out of sight, and yet is simultaneously omnipresent and accessible in its most explicit forms with a simple click of the mouse. What is pornography? What does it do? Why do we treat it so inconsistently? Why is pornography legal in some countries and censored in others? What are the aesthetics of pornography? ...

THE BROOKLYN INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH is an interdisciplinary teaching and research institute that offers critical, community-based education in the humanities and social sciences. Working in partnership with local businesses and cultural organizations, we integrate rigorous but accessible scholarly study with the everyday lives of working adults and re-imagine scholarship for the 21st century.

Upcoming Courses



Support the Brooklyn Institute

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Consider supporting our mission by becoming a member or donating today.

Mailing List
To receive our newsletter with upcoming news and announcements, please enter your email address.
  • New York/General
  • New Jersey
  • Philadelphia
  • Midwest
  • London

Recent Posts

(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 6: Everyone Enjoying Everything All the Time

In episode six of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Isi and Ajay consider the cultural imperative du jour, “Let People Enjoy Things”—and offer an alternative: not letting people enjoy things. What underlies the collective impulse to not criticize? What is the purpose of criticism? And how does the injunction to not criticize misunderstand the relationship between the self and […]

Faculty Spotlight: Andy Battle on Capitalism and Urbanization, Eric Adams, Cop City, and the Right to the City

Podcast for Social Research, Episode 61.5, Shortcast: Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Faculty in the Media: On Bruno Latour’s Late Turn Leftward, Moral Panic and Social Reproduction, and the Global Green Transition