- As The Guermantes Way, the third volume of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, begins, the worlds of childhood and early adolescence are torn asunder as the narrator comes into maturity. Proust explores the faultlines of aristocratic society and the intensities of individual psychic experience in actions as small as a family’s move from one apartment to another and as large as the Dreyfus Affair. Sexual desire, moral education and corruption, social mobility, death, mourning, gossip, betrayal, the creation, reception, and circulation of art: these are a few of the themes Proust takes up as the narrator comes of age along with literary modernism. ...
- Few books in recent memory have so thoroughly transformed the way we think about the body, sexuality, and power as Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality. In this course, we will study the first volume of Foucault’s monumental work, as we seek to understand the meaning and implications of Foucault’s proposition that sex is a social construction. What does Foucauldian sexuality have to do with power in the modern world, and how does it relate to his concept of biopolitics (or the idea that modern states derive their force from controlling biological life)? ...
- Walter Benjamin once wrote that The Arcades Project was “the theater of all my struggles and all my ideas.” Never completed and well over a decade in the making, The Arcades Project takes on the presentation and history of an entire era and place: the Parisian Arcades of the early 19th century. Via quotations, observations, commentaries, philosophical fragments, and “literary montage,” Benjamin attempts a better understanding of the conditions that fashioned not only that era, but also his own. ...
- Money seems like a straightforward aspect of our daily lives. But underlying its everyday functionality in facilitating transactions, measuring the market value of goods and services, and serving as a store of wealth over time is a stubborn question about what money actually is. As the economist Perry Mehrling observes, “Money is always difficult, and it is more difficult than ever today.” ...
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BISR Faculty Writing: Capitalism and the Family, Immigration and “Merit,” and Torah as Palimpsest
On The Dig podcast with Daniel Denvir, Sophie Lewis discusses her new book Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family, the problem of commercialized surrogacy, and the abuses that follow from bourgeois notions of the family: “While we’re calling this situation that people are making a lot of noise about and feeling a lot of revulsion […]