Brooklyn Institute for Social Research -
  • Thomas Bernhard, perhaps the most notorious figure—lauded, reclusive, scandalizing—of postwar Austrian literature, takes up the “inexpungible inheritances” of his native country in novels of obsessive detail and unrelenting vitriol. From the death camps of WWII to Catholicism’s crypto-Nazism, from the vacuity of the culture industry to the sterility of bourgeois art forms, Bernhard’s fulminating, monologuing narrators are at once canny and ailing—avatars of the cultural malaise they both diagnose and recapitulate. ...
  • An ancient epic and foundational text for a great variety of peoples, the Ramayana has had a lasting influence on everything from popular art to classical South Asian thought to contemporary Hindu politics. The Ramayana tells the sweeping story of the exile and return of the ruler Rama from the kingdom of Ayodhya. Rama’s adventures—including the abduction of his wife Sita by the demonic Ravana and the ensuing war to rescue her—become the ground for running debate over perennial questions of action, duty, individuality, violence, and moral philosophy. ...
  • Ruins seemingly always evoke complex feelings: sweetness, melancholy, wonder, fatality. But why? The ruin is a central aesthetic, philosophical, and political preoccupation in modernity, variously characterized as a conduit of sublimity, an index of past catastrophes and abandoned futures, an evocation of colonial nostalgia, an injunction to remember, a metaphor for contemporary historical consciousness. What is the allure of the ruin, and how have representations of ruins—alongside tropes of decay, fragmentation, and abandonment—functioned across cultural and political imaginaries? ...
  • When World War II drew away Britain’s male philosophers, the universities of England became, to paraphrase Mary Midgely, “places where the voices of women could finally be heard.” What they said and wrote would amount to nothing less than a revolution in analytic philosophy. Midgely, Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, and Iris Murdoch, all students at Oxford, shared in common a dislike of the anti-metaphysical orientation then prevailing in British philosophy, taking aim in particular at A.J. Ayer’s logical positivism and the associated “non-cognitivism” of figures like C.L. Stevenson, which reduced moral judgments about right and wrong to mere grunts that expressed non-rational approval or disapproval. ...

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Recent Posts

Call for New York City-based Faculty (and Beyond): Critical Theory, Philosophy, Feminist and Queer Theory, and More

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research (BISR), a non-profit critical education and research institute that integrates rigorous but accessible scholarly study with the everyday lives of working adults, seeks scholars who are interested in joining our Associate Faculty to teach catalog courses in-person in New York City. We also invite scholars, in any locality or time […]

Podcast for Social Research, Episode 70.5: But I’m a Cheerleader—A Brief Film Guide

Faculty Writing: On Feminist Legends, and on Barbie and Global Capitalism

Podcast for Social Research, Episode 70: Critical Theory and the 21st Century