• What is BISR Network?

    BISR Network expands the kind of critical pedagogy BISR is known for to places and communities across the Midwest where there are fewer spaces and opportunities to engage with formal scholarship and intellectual inquiry outside of universities. This program is shaped by the conviction that bringing people together, face-to-face, to engage in some of the thorniest questions of social life, is a powerful mode of intellectual and civic engagement and that everyone deserves the tools, the texts, and the space to participate in open critical inquiry.

    At the moment, BISR Network is anchored by two regional centers, located in Cincinnati, OH and Detroit, MI, which offer courses in locations across Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Puerto Rico. Regional faculty and students are the core of the program. Supported by regional directors and BISR staff in New York, BISR Network creates vital public programming in these locations.


  • What does BISR Network Teach?

    While regional directors and faculty adapt as needed, BISR Network follows the pedagogical model we have been developing in New York City, Jersey City, and Philadelphia for the past seven years. Courses are typically four weeks long, meet once a week for three hours on evenings and weekends, and focus on major topics, authors, works, and questions in a broad range of disciplines across the humanities and social sciences. Courses are built with the lives, needs, ideas, and interests of working adults in mind. Centering scholars and students from communities in each region, BISR Network is woven into the local social fabric. We rely on the expertise and teaching experience of local scholars who are committed to their region to teach these courses and build this program.

    Informed by faculty and student input in each location, BISR Network courses range from “core” or even “great books” style courses to topic and research driven courses, as they do in New York City.  But even “Core”, for us, is a community-based concept, and the way we teach these works is adapted to the needs, desires, and particular situation of the various communities we work with. As a result, we teach texts both with and against the grain of their traditional reception—be it Aristotle, Adam Smith, W.E.B. Du Bois, or Simone de Beauvoir. What the University of Chicago calls “great” may not be received differently in Detroit, Dearborn, Akron, or Cincinnati, and we encourage our students to take ownership of texts, to integrate them as they see fit in their own understandings.

  • What courses have you taught recently?

    In 2019, BISR Network offered courses in Cincinnati, Michigan, and Puerto Rico on subjects ranging from human rights to ecocriticism to disability studies to decolonization.


  • What courses are coming up?

    BISR Network Winter-Spring 2020 courses will be announced shortly.

  • How can I support this crucial program?

    Anyone, anywhere can help BISR Network build critical, community-based learning across the Midwest. Unlike our New York City, Philadelphia, and Jersey City programs, which are funded mostly through tuition fees, BISR Network courses are supported primarily through individual donations as well as non-profit, foundation, and philanthropic channels to make our already radically affordable courses even lower in cost. Tuition fees for the program are discounted to $25 in addition to our usual pay-what-you-can scholarship program.

    As a result, we need your help to sustain and grow this program. Please consider becoming a Brooklyn Institute member, making a donation (no matter how great or small), or encouraging your foundation or philanthropic giving initiative to support BISR Network.

    If you wish to donate space, physical goods, or any other kind of support to BISR Network, please contact the regional director most closely located to you.

    For inquiries relating to Southern Ohio and Kentucky please reach out to our Cincinnati Regional Director at angela@thebrooklyninstitute.com

    For inquiries relating to Michigan and Northern Ohio please reach out to our Detroit Regional Director at megan@thebrooklyninstitute.com

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