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  • How can we understand the political and economic history of Africa and its diaspora—from the organization of the slave trade to the Haitian revolution, from European colonialism to decolonization and national liberation? And, what can a study of African subjection and struggle teach us about concepts such as liberation, freedom, and sovereignty?
  • A musical prodigy, uncooperative employee, conscientious craftsman, international celebrity, and deep religious believer, Bach made music both of and outside his time. How can we understand Bach, not as a hallowed figure, but as (in John Eliot Gardner’s words) a “thoroughly imperfect human being” who nevertheless strove, as artist and believer, for musical perfection? What explains Bach’s singular originality, his enduring appeal?
  • How, in the hands of non-dominant populations, does the Ramayana challenge Hindutwa assumptions and assertions about the contested legacies of India’s pre-colonial past? How does the Ramayana figure in and shape the social and political imaginations of South Asians today?
  • How do neoclassical economists understand the labor market, and what informs their opposition to the minimum wage and unionization? What is Keynes’s critique of neoclassical theory of employment, and how does he understand the causes of unemployment? How do Marxist economists understand surplus value, labor exploitation, and working time, and what do they have to do with the Marxian conception of endemic capitalist crisis? Finally, what can a Marxist-feminist perspective teach us about the labor of social reproduction and the possibility of “wages for housework”?

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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Recent Posts

Faculty Video: The Life of the Mind

Marking the publication of her acclaimed debut novel The Life of the Mind, BISR faculty (and co-founder) Christine Smallwood joined Abby Kluchin, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Michael Stevenson, and Suzanne Schneider for a wide-ranging discussion of the novel’s characters, themes, and theoretical influences (Thomas Mann, Melanie Klein, and, perhaps unconsciously, Gramsci and Walter […]

Faculty Video: Comics and Popular Culture: a Conversation with Abraham Riesman and Michael Tisserand

Practical Criticism No. 41—One Big Country Song

Faculty Writing: The Anti-Colonial Lenin and Wagnermania