Brooklyn Institute for Social Research -
  • 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.” ...

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.

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