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  • Full of the pleasures and pains of adolescence, actresses and art, comic enthusiasms and the ironies of disappointment, romantic projection and sexual discovery, snobbery and social suffocation, problems of aesthetics, education, and knowledge, the second volume of Proust’s panoramic "In Search of Lost Time" asks: in what kind of world do we find ourselves when we leave childhood behind? Often rendered into English as "In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower," this section of "In Search of Lost Time" was first published in 1919, not long after the devastations of World War I and just three years before Proust’s death in 1922. And this section of "In Search of Lost Time" is, indeed, a work of shadows. Not only does it commemorate the vanished world of Belle Époque France, it also represents adolescence as a period in which it first becomes possible to understand how profoundly life is marked by different degrees of shade, nuance, and darkness. ...
  • In 1982, the New York Times editorial page published an essay entitled “Is God a Feminist?”: “Across the board,” the author argued, “from biblical scholarship and religious history to ethics and theology, our religious heritage is being scrutinized, reinterpreted and in some cases overthrown by a number of writers who, from different points of view, agree that the common enemy is patriarchal religion.” While some have argued that the monotheistic God of Abraham is beyond repair, many others have looked to texts, legal traditions, and hermeneutic practices to foster feminist forms of religion. How and why did these transformations of various traditions occur? What interventions and contributions do religious feminists continue to make? ...
  • Financialization is a term that is used ubiquitously to tell a specific story about the way the economy has developed over the past 35 years. In that time, it has come to refer to a number of separate trends: the decline of the manufacturing sector and the growing importance of financial activities as a share of corporate profit; the growth of the financial sector relative to the rest of the economy; an explosion in the volume of financial trading and innovation; the rise in levels of private and public debt; the ascendancy of “shareholder value” as a mode of corporate governance; and wage stagnation, rising inequality, and the concentration of political and economic power in the hands of a wealthy elite. What spurred the rise of “financialization?” Is it necessarily the optimal economic arrangement for 21st-century circumstances?
  • The question of evil has long been central to western political thought: from Augustine’s Confessions, in which evil is a perversion of the will, to Nietzsche’s provocative view that the concept of evil arose from negative emotions and weakened human vitality. Since the middle of the 20th century, however, political philosophers and theorists have tried to come to terms with the seemingly unrelenting stream of evil and violence that shapes contemporary life. For Hannah Arendt, “the sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.” How should we approach the problem of evil philosophically and morally? To what extent is evil a timeless problem, or conversely, one engendered by particular conditions that have unfolded over time?

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: Marx Now: A Symposium

Karl Marx is 200 years old. And yet, whenever Marx seems dead and buried, a new moment of economic or political crisis brings Marx’s critical understanding of capitalism back to the fore. In Marx Now, a two-day symposium co-presented by the Goethe-Institut New York and the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, leading scholars, activists, and artists discussed, in a […]

Faculty Writing: How Not to Talk About Climate Change and Paramilitary America

The Podcast for Social Research, Ep. 25.5, Shortcast: Bicentennial Frankenstein

The Podcast for Social Research, Episode 25: Borders, Migration, and Crisis