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  • Spinoza argued for a monistic materialism, claiming that the entire universe was but one physical embodied substance and that all things in it were necessarily interconnected “properties” or aspects of that single substance: God or Nature. This idea was condemned almost immediately as an amoral, atheistic creed, and the epithet of “Spinozist” became an accusation of the highest order. And yet, Spinoza’s 17th century ideas not only endure, but have gained increasing influence and purchase on a range of intellectual fields from the 19th century on.
  • Central to Butler’s theory is the concept of performativity as a way to describe how we become gendered subjects, that is, how we come to enact gender in recognizable ways. Gender Trouble has proved surprisingly controversial, notably for its difficult prose, but also for its treatment of the body as discursively produced, as well as for its ambiguous “subversive” politics. How, 30 years after publication, does Gender Trouble complicate, or help us make sense of, contemporary problems of feminism, identity, queerness, and politics?
  • This course will offer an introduction to nationalism in both historical and theoretical terms. Drawing on an assortment of sources, students will examine the material conditions that made it possible to conceive of political identity in national terms. We will examine how a range of contemporary issues are threatening the logic of nationalism as a form of identity and type of statecraft—from ethnic and religious difference to the limits of sovereignty in the face of mass atrocities, and problems like climate change that require coordination on a global scale.
  • In this course, we will explore the nature and characteristics of the new platform digital economy. How is value created and distributed in “platform capitalism”? Are platform workers “entreprenurial” or somehow more free, as euphemisms like the “sharing,” “gig,” or “on-demand” economy imply? Or, does the platform economy invariably depress wages, entrench existing inequalities and biases, and institute a new kind of surveillance regime?

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

Call for NYC Faculty: Economics and Political Science

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research is hiring for two full-time faculty positions: in 1) Economics and Political Economy and 2) Political Science. Economics and Political Economy Brooklyn Institute for Social Research invites applications for a full-time position in Economics and Political Economy.  The successful candidate will potentially teach courses in political economy, heterodox economics, macroeconomics, […]

Faculty Video: Night of Philosophy & Ideas 2020

Faculty Writing: Billionaire Philanthropy and the Hygienic Sublime

Podcast for Social Research, Episode 37: At Year’s End with the Angel of History: 2019 in Review