Brooklyn Institute for Social Research -
  • What is the relationship between democracy and development? How do East Asian countries attest to, and challenge, our conventional understanding of the link between the two? As the politics of East Asia are widely portrayed as oscillating between democracy and authoritarianism, questions often turn on competing political cultures and modes of economic growth. What role has geopolitics played in shaping or deterring democracy in these countries? What do different efforts towards democratization have to do with postcolonialism, nationalism, and populist politics? How do these experiences resonate with stories from the other parts of the world? ...
  • Why have readers found Wuthering Heights such an enduringly disturbing book? And why have critics turned to this novel in order to make claims about narrative theory, gender, desire, the social dynamics of Victorian empire, vengeance, song, industrialization, and personhood? How does the novel picture problems of justice, malice, property, and sex? How should we understand this novel’s debts to the Gothic, Romanticism, realism, and to its own moment of composition? ...
  • Why do we want what we want? The critique of capitalism is very often associated – by both proponents and antagonists – with a critique of consumerism which, in turn, is treated as a pathology of individual desire. But there is a long tradition stretching back to the radical enlightenment philosophies of Spinoza and, indeed, Marx’s critique of political economy, that suggest something quite different: it is how desires are fulfilled, produced, managed, and thwarted that is the issue, not desires themselves. What is the relationship between capitalism and desire? ...
  • There’s more than a little irony in the fact that Ludwig Wittgenstein—widely considered to be among the most original and influential philosophers of the 20th century—held that his discipline’s “real discovery” was “the one that makes me capable of stopping doing philosophy”. In his posthumously published masterpiece, Philosophical Investigations, he likened proper philosophical method rather to a form of therapy, one which “gives philosophy peace, so that it is no longer tormented with questions that bring itself into question.” If all of philosophy heretofore is a misunderstanding, what, then, is the legitimate task of philosophy? By what method can we untangle obstinate questions of language, logic, meaning, and mind? ...
  • In the 1970s, a group of Marxist-feminists demanded “wages for housework”: payment for the unpaid work done in the household and the family. The demand echoed a critique of political economy going all the way back to Adam Smith’s division of productive and “unproductive” labor and helped open up a series of new questions around what is today called “social reproduction.” What labor, exactly, counts as “productive” and why? Why is reproduction shunted off into the “private” world? Is household labor productive for capitalism? How exactly is capitalism continuously, daily reproduced? ...

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Call for Michigan Faculty: History, Political Economy, Urban Studies

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, a non-profit critical education and research institute which integrates rigorous but accessible scholarly study with the everyday lives of working adults and re-imagines scholarship for the twenty-first century, seeks scholars who are interested in joining our Michigan faculty to teach and design rigorous seminar-style courses for adult students. We […]

The Podcast for Social Research, Episode 31: Night of Philosophy and Ideas 2019

BISR Faculty Writing: Iranian Women, the Politics of Exhaustion, and Contra Yascha Mounk

Faculty Video: Night of Philosphy & Ideas 2019