Through individual reading and classroom discussion, students will be called upon to reflect deeply and critically upon fundamental questions pertaining to culture, politics, and society. Designed specifically with the needs of high school learners in mind, the curriculum is designed to offer students a broad-based understanding of key concepts and debates within five core areas of study: philosophy, literature, political science, sociology, and economics.
The five program components are as follows:
- An Introduction to Moral Philosophy (Michael Stevenson)
- How to Read a Novel (Rebecca Ariel Porte)
- What is Politics? (Ajay Singh Chaudhary)
- Introduction to the Sociological Imagination: Race, Class, and Gender (Nara Roberta Silva)
- Economics of Globalization (Lygia Sabbag Fares)
Ajay Singh Chaudhary is the executive director of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research and a core faculty member specializing in social and political theory. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics. His research focuses on social and political theory
, Frankfurt School critical theory, political eco nomy, political ecology, media, religion, and post-colonial studies. He has written for the The Guardian, The Nation, The Baffler, n+1, Los Angeles Review of Books, Social Text, The Hedgehog Review, Filmmaker Magazine, and 3quarksdaily, among other venues, and has previously taught at Columbia University and Cooper Union. Ajay is currently working on a manuscript on political theory for the Anthropocene.
Lygia Sabbag Fares is a member of the Core Faculty at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. She possesses a PhD in Economics with a focus on development economics, labor economics and gender from the University of Campinas in Brazil. She has served as Director of the Department of “Alternative Income” at the Secretary of Women for the city of São Paulo and an organizer of the Gender working group of Young Scholars Initiative (YSI) of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET). She is also a member of the International Association for Feminist Economics. Prior to joining BISR, she was faculty at Escola Superior de Administração e Gestão Strong, teaching courses in macroeconomics, public finance, Brazilian economics, and development economics.
Rebecca Ariel Porte (Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) is a member of the Core Faculty at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, where she teaches a spectrum of courses in literature, philosophy, and theory across centuries, cultures, and canons. She has taught previously at University of Michigan and New York University. She is currently at work on a book about paradise, Arcadia, and the Golden Age.
Nara Roberta Silva earned her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Sociology from the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), Brazil. Her research and teaching focus on the areas of social movements, global Marxism, post/anti-colonialism, and the links between classical and contemporary sociological theory to illuminate issues on race, class, and gender in the making of subjectivity and collective action. She has taught at Lehman College – CUNY and has been a visiting research scholar at the CUNY Graduate Center. Nara has also been an academic advisor at the Brazilian Foundation, mentoring students with a Brazilian background as they navigate the U.S. educational environment.
Michael Stevenson is core faculty in philosophy at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. He received his BA in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD in philosophy from Columbia University, having begun his post-graduate study at Cornell University. He has taught at Columbia University as a Core Lecturer, and at Barnard College and Hunter College, CUNY. He specializes in the German philosophical tradition, particularly Kant, German Idealism, Phenomenology and Existentialism.
An Introduction to Moral Philosophy: What makes an action moral or immoral? Even if we knew the answer, what reasons do we have for acting morally rather than immorally? What is the relation, if any, between morality and happiness? In this class, we’ll consider how these questions have been addressed by the Western philosophical tradition, engaging with foundational texts by Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill, among others.
How to Read A Novel: What’s a novel and how do you read one? In this course, we’ll study Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener and Nella Larsen’s Passing alongside works of criticism and theory that think about what novels are, how they change over time, and why we read them. Students can expect to emerge with a sense of the historical significance and imaginative flexibility of the novel form and a variety of sophisticated approaches to the study of literature.
What is Politics? Politics is often assumed to be an extension of morality, an application of principles, or an obvious fact of identity or social position. But what makes something specifically political? What is politics or “the political?” In this class we’ll explore these questions through reading a range of political theorists, from the early modern period to the current day, while thinking through specific issues, situations, and scenarios from the authors’ historical contexts and current dilemmas. Readings will include selections from Machiavelli, Carl Schmitt, Antonio Gramsci, Lenin, Frantz Fanon, Franz Neumann, Stuart Hall, Chantal Mouffe, and Audre Lorde, among others.
Introduction to Sociological Imagination: Race, Class, and Gender: What is the connection between personal experience and society at large? In this course, students will explore this question by considering the multifaceted ways in which class, race, and gender affect the lives of individuals, shape social phenomena like inequality, and influence institutions—from schools and hospitals to policing and government agencies. By analyzing the historical, economic, political, and cultural factors that have produced class-, race-, and gender-based stratification, students will uncover the intersections of these categories and develop a framework to critically evaluate their lives and today’s social problems.
Economics of Globalization: What is globalization, and what is financialization? In this course, students will dissect the components of “global value chains,” the contemporary model of capitalist production. The role of transnational corporations and financial institutions, such as banks and large funds, will be considered alongside that of the state to provide a multidimensional picture of global economic integration. What led to the interconnection of markets worldwide, and what are its consequences? We will assess a broad range of impacts of globalization—on the level of economy, politics, social relations, and the environment—to better understand the extension of economic concentration and the inequality promoted by 21st-century capitalism.
The BISR Young Scholars Program offers a supportive environment for students to engage in rigorous study. Students are expected to participate in all the seminars and engage with an approximately 200-page weekly reading load, spread through each of the five program components. BISR YSP requires full-time commitment and program components cannot be attended separately. Each student is required to complete a final project inspired by their summer learning. The final project may be an essay, audio-visual product, or other creative initiative, and students will receive feedback from their faculty advisor. Final projects are due by September 2, 2002.
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis through the final deadline of May 15, 2022. Because enrollment in the Young Scholars Program is limited to 25, we encourage interested students to apply early. BISR will notify students of their acceptance into the program no later than May 20, 2022.
Upon acceptance, students are required to complete the full registration packet and submit payment within one week to reserve their place. All program participants must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and present proof of vaccination as part of the enrollment process. Tuition is $3,540.
Young Scholars Program
Brooklyn Institute’s Young Scholars Program offers rising high school juniors and seniors and recent graduates a chance to engage in rigorous study and discussion with a group of their peers. Students will be taught by BISR’s core faculty specialists, all of whom have extensive teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The program helps students build confidence in a seminar learning environment while developing their skills in textual analysis, argument formation, and public presentation. Through its carefully tailored curriculum, BISR YSP exposes students to everything from classics in the Western canon to contemporary questions, studies, and theories at the cutting edge—from the foundations of moral philosophy to queer theory, with a wealth of topics and texts in between.
The 2022 program dates are Monday, July 11th – Friday, August 5th. Each day of the week is dedicated to a distinct subject (e.g. philosophy on Mondays, sociology on Tuesdays, and so on). Seminars convene Monday through Friday each week from 1 pm to 4 pm. All courses take place in-person at the BISR office in historic DUMBO, Brooklyn.