Brooklyn Institute for Social Research -
  • In the mid-nineteenth century, a young Karl Marx wrote, in the form of a published open letter to Arnold Ruge: “But if the designing of the future and the proclamation of ready-made solutions for all time is not our affair, then we realize all the more clearly what we have to accomplish in the present—I am speaking of a ruthless criticism of everything existing, ruthless in two senses: The criticism must not be afraid of its own conclusions, nor of conflict with the powers that be.” In this course, we will explore how Marx developed this “ruthless criticism” over the course of his life as a scholar, journalist, and activist. ...
  • Environmentalists frequently describe the earth in feminine terms (“mother earth”). But is nature a good ground for feminist politics? For Ecofeminists—the radical feminist eco-philosophers who emerged out of the anti-nuclear, indigenous rights, and environmental movements of the 1970s and ‘80s—the “rape of the planet” and the systematic plunder of female bodies are two sides of the same patriarchical-capitalist coin. But why is the earth seen as a woman—and should it be? Alongside ecofeminism, a parallel tradition arose: Xenofeminism. Cybernetic, techno-curious and sometimes technophilic, xenofeminists see technology and the transcendence of the “natural” as central to feminist emancipation. ...
  • Architecture—the art form that combines elements of engineering, design, artistry, and the social imagination—plays a profound, if not always apparent, role in the organization of social life. At the same time, it literally concretizes specific values and aspirations—political, economic, and otherwise. If the bourgeois revolutions of the nineteenth century found expression in the broad boulevards of Paris and the eclectic historicism of Vienna’s Ringstrasse (Ring Road), alongside this also emerged a radical, utopian counter-tradition that looked to architecture to elucidate, embody, and engender the aspiration for a world beyond capitalism. ...
  • F.W.J. Schelling is (in)famous for his seemingly ever-changing views and proliferating “systems.” But underlying his philosophizing was a single obsession: to heal the rift between nature and reason that had been newly ruptured in the work of his immediate and venerable predecessor, Immanuel Kant. Schelling developed a philosophy of nature (Naturphilosophie) and a monistic theory of identity (Identitätstheorie) that would soon inspire Hegel’s Absolute Idealism, only to later labor for decades to combat Hegel’s “negative” philosophy with a new “positive” philosophy of mythology and revelation. In the process, Schelling would develop visionary concepts that would bear fruit for centuries to come ...
  • On the face of it, autofiction appears self-explanatory—a simple combination of two familiar genres, autobiography and fiction. But the simple combination is also an uneasy one. Part of what makes autofiction so thrilling—and so controversial—is the challenge it poses to the readerly expectations that are established in no small part by generic convention. How does the process of fictionalizing the self, or stylizing the truth, affect what we expect from autobiographical writing? How does, or can, fiction satisfy our desire for veracity? ...

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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