Brooklyn Institute for Social Research -
  • What are the workings of a capitalist economy? Does the market make people richer or poorer? Is the market a disciplining institution that produces alienation, or is it the best mechanism to allocate resources in society? How does economic theory influence political ideology with regards to these issues? Are the notions of free market and competition an illusion — and just what do we mean by a “free market,” anyway? ...

  • What are the basic structures of western music? What rules and norms—of harmony, melody, and rhythm—unite works as remote from each other in time and style as Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper? What are the acoustic, perceptual, and historical roots of this musical grammar, and does our understanding them shape the way we hear and respond to music? ...
  • Virginia Woolf’s writing audaciously expanded the boundaries of modern fiction, reshaping our ideas about the ability of the novel to represent ordinary life and register swift, historical change. “Let us record the atoms as they fall upon the mind in the order in which they fall,” she advised, signaling her prescription for a kind of experimental prose capable of linking the seemingly trivial and immediate phenomena of daily life to broader events and social imaginaries. What can we learn about Woolf’s modernism—and about modernism writ large—by thinking through its treatment of the very large (war, patriarchy, technological developments, environmental transformations, and artistic renovations) and the very small (shifts in mood, quotidian interactions, sensations, and judgements)? ...
  • Kant’s aesthetic theory, expounded in the Critique of the Power of Judgment, was the capstone on his “critical” philosophy—it was intended to give completeness to his system as a whole. In particular, he believed that, through the very experience of beauty, we can begin to see nature itself as harmonized with human freedom and our moral ambitions. Immensely influential in its time, the so-called “third Critique” inspired and gave energy to both German Idealism, which attempted to provide a rational and holistic account of the unity of all of things, and German Romanticism, which emphasized loss, longing and the fragmentary. ...

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