Brooklyn Institute for Social Research -
  • “Wrong life cannot be lived rightly.” This enigmatic statement stands at the heart of Theodor Adorno’s mid-20th century masterwork Minima Moralia. Subtitled “reflections from damaged life,” Adorno’s text is a collection of miniature essays, fragments, theses, and aphorisms about a modern capitalist life that Adorno argues leaves no aspect of our lives unmarred, no individual undamaged, and no answer easy or satisfying.
  • What do ideas of nature have to tell us about literature and how it works? From visions of Arcadia to Paradise to the Golden Age, the pastoral theme has always been intertwined with a series of philosophical, aesthetic, and historical claims—about freedom, deprivation, labor, technology, human primacy, and notions of the good. What use is literature as a means of envisioning, describing, delimiting, and relating to nature? And how, as occupants of the Anthropocene—an era of the world in which human activity is a determinative force across ecologies and time—are we to read and use the pastoral today?
  • Transfeminine lives are often seen as having, in and of themselves, political consequences, theoretical limits, and some kind of relation to a ‘beyond’ of gender. In this context, theorists continue to differ on matters such as: the continued relevance of “queer” as a rubric, the utility of the figure of the “post-transsexual”; and the relation of trans embodiment to normativity, gender nonconformity, and the gender binary. Some have announced (already!) “the end of trans studies.” How can we understand, parse, and adjudicate these conflicting and overlapping questions?
  • For Said, the notion that the world is divided—politically, culturally, and morally—into the oppositional categories of East and West was an intellectual creation, which supported and facilitated particular forms of power. Drawing on the ideas of discourse and hegemony as developed by Michel Foucault and Antonio Gramsci, respectively, Said highlighted the ways in which knowledge of “the Orient” has been historically bound up with imperial domination; from the Arabic linguists who accompanied Napoleon to Egypt to the scholars who peddle commentary on the “Arab mind.”
  • Art was anything but peripheral to Kant’s philosophical project. In judging a thing to be beautiful, Kant maintained, we bridge “the great gulf” of nature and human freedom, and prepare ourselves to “love something, even nature, without interest”—that is, exercise moral judgment. Immensely influential in its time, the so-called “third Critique” inspired and gave energy to both German Idealism, which attempted to provide a rational and holistic account of the unity of all of things, and German Romanticism, which emphasized loss, longing and the fragmentary.

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.

Upcoming Courses



Support the Brooklyn Institute

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Consider supporting our mission by becoming a member or donating today.

Mailing List
To receive our newsletter with upcoming news and announcements, please enter your email address.
  • New York/General
  • New Jersey
  • Philadelphia
  • Midwest

Recent Posts

Faculty Lightning Lectures: Third Annual Institute Social

At our Third Annual Institute Social, BISR staff, faculty, alumni, and friends gathered at Verso Books for a celebratory evening of food, drink, conversation, and, as are given yearly, faculty Lightning Lectures. This year’s talks included: Alyssa Battistoni on the maintenance art of Mierle Laderman Ukeles and its connections to, and tensions with, the work […]

BISR Faculty Writing: Organizing Academics, Socialism and the State, and the Labor of Reproduction.

Podcast for Social Research, Episode 33: Ecology, Community, Prosperity: a Conversation with Eliza Griswold

Open Call for NYC Faculty