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  • A number of (post-)continental philosophers have recently turned to forms of realism and materialism as frameworks for investigating a reality they regard as independent of human cognition. Their approach, dubbed “speculative realism” and “object-oriented ontology,” de-centers human perception, and opens up, as one observer notes, “a weird world, foreign to human experience and commonsense.” What’s the nature of the reality that speculative realism reveals?
  • Gramsci’s reflections cover not only a shocking variety of areas (from geography to sport to war to publishing to economy to religion and beyond) but provoke readers to ask our own questions about what constitutes—and what impedes—social and political change today. In this class, we’ll read some of the most famous selections of Gramsci’s prison notebooks as we examine some of the key concepts and arguments that Gramsci introduced into the social and political lexicon.
  • As the logic of financial markets increasingly permeates social reality, financialization has re-ordered the United States into what Gerald Davis calls a “portfolio society” in which the individual’s place has been reduced to the logic of investment. What spurred the rise of “financialization?” Is it necessarily the optimal economic arrangement for 21st-century circumstances? Has the growth of the financial sector delivered efficiency gains, or is it destabilizing? What are the links between financialization and neoliberal governance?
  • The Mahabharata is one of the great literary works of South Asian history. It narrates an epic story: the introduction to our supposed age, the Kali Yuga—one of downfall and decline, but also eventual rebirth. On the edge of battle Arjuna and Krishna argue some of the most delicate points of moral philosophy, theology, and cosmology, all revolving around the questions of the justness of waging inter-familial war, how to resolve personal duty and culpability, and the nature of the universe itself.
  • From census to labor power, health care to eugenics, prisons to border control, bodies are subject to, and subjects of, modern states. How do we define people as bodies and bodies as political subjects? In this course, we will turn to medieval aesthetics, politics, philosophy, and religion in the spirit of seeking sources that might give us tools with which to disassemble the inherited complexes of what Michel Foucault called “biopolitics” and, later, what Achille Mbembe introduced as “necropolitics.”

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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