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Spatial Ordering of Exile: The Architecture of Palestinian Refugee Camps

Public Seminar -

Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal are a team of two extraordinary architects who live permanently at Beit Sahour on the outskirts of Bethelem in Palestine. They have worked since 2007 to revitalize, reconstruct, take apart, and reconceive both the ruins and abandoned spaces that are the remnants of the vast spaces throughout Palestine that have been destroyed, dispossessed, cut into pieces over some sixty years since the Nakba in l947. Their work is extraordinary because it is unique in every way: from those they call on to work with them (artists, film makers, architects, young people from the refugee camps) to the visions they conceive and the materials and histories on which they draw. ...

Reflections on Ferguson

Public Seminar -

I have spent much of my academic career researching and writing about the Civil Rights Movement. Today, I am heartbroken, and I believe my greatest heroes would be too -- Frederick Douglass, W.E.B Du Bois, William Monroe Trotter, Ida B. Wells, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King Jr., are all collectively turning in their graves. My heart breaks for America because it feels like the struggle, and sacrifice of countless civil rights activists have in part been futile. ...

Our local theatre pantomimes feature Storysack stories!

Dekspace -

Christmas approaches and ‘Panto Season’ has arrived. Three of our local theatres are staging pantomime stories we have in our Storysacks Library!

The Albany in Douglas Way Deptford has a production of ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ staged by the Little Angel Theatre from 10 December 2014 to 4th January 2015. Beautiful puppet production with music, see a trailer video on the Albany website.

Greenwich Theatre is presenting ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ from 20th November 2014 to the 11th January 2015.

The Churchill Theatre in Bromley has ‘Sleeping Beauty’ from 28th November 2014 to 4th January 2015.

Democracy’s Crisis

Public Seminar -

We are current experiencing a major crisis of democracy. What is at stake here is the specifically political dimension of a broader, multifaceted crisis, which also has other important dimensions -- for example, economic, financial, ecological, and social. Taken together, all of these aspects, including the political dimension of democratic crisis, add up to a “general crisis.” It is at bottom a crisis of capitalism -- or rather, of our current, historically specific form of capitalism: financialized, globalizing, neoliberal capitalism. ...

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Public Seminar -

The grand opening of Polin or the Museum of the History of Polish Jews at the end of October was a widely anticipated event, and when its exhibition was finally revealed, the celebration was covered by major media in Europe, the US, and, unsurprisingly, Israel. Timothy Garton Ash and Anne Applebaum, among others, acknowledged Poland’s efforts to deal with its own history of Polish-Jewish relations. In the Financial Times Tony Barber emphasized how, today, Warsaw is a safer place for Jews than Berlin or Paris. All this praise comes a long way from the usual connotation: Poland as the place of Nazi death camps. ...

The Old Patterns of the New Afghan Democracy

Public Seminar -

After a long electoral process, on September 27, 2014, Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as the Afghan president. The arrangements to grant him that office, which was earned in a controversial election, were not easy, because it forced a generous conciliation with Abdullah Abdullah, Ghani’s chief rival. Abdullah was granted the role of chief executive of the government, a sort of Afghan Prime Minister.

As Michael Keating points out, this is a blow to the trustworthiness of the electoral process, which serves precisely to avoid this sort of agreement among elites. ...

A Continuing Conversation: From the Archiv to Social Research

Public Seminar -

The Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research was founded in 1933 by Alvin Johnson, the president of the New School, who created there the “University in Exile” to provide a safe haven for scholars who were endangered by totalitarian regimes.[1] The University in Exile became necessary after the new National Socialist government in Germany immediately promulgated a “law” on April 7, 1933, the Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums (Restoration of Civil Service Act), which was used as an instrument to dismiss civil servants either for racial or political reasons. ...

LGBTQI Rights and Brazil’s Presidential Election

Public Seminar -

For the first time in Brazil's recent democratic history, which began in 1984 after the country's twenty-one-year long dictatorship ended, the LGBTQI rights have appeared as the main controversial topic in this year’s presidential election. In the space of two weeks during the election first round, the topic got more attention and at a broader length than perhaps it has had previously in any of the eight democratically elected governments of the past. ...

Revisiting The Social Construction of Reality

Public Seminar -

Although circumstances did not permit Peter Berger to attend in person The New School’s conference commemorating the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Social Construction of Reality, it was wonderful to have him with us via Skype (nicely captured with me in the accompanying surreal photo). It was also great to have Thomas Luckmann in a video message, and a group of distinguished scholars who have been informed and provoked by Berger and Luckmann’s masterwork: Alan Sica, Eviatar Zerubavel, Asia Friedman, Steve Hoffman and Silke Steets. ...

The 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Wall

Public Seminar -

At the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall I noticed fear.

I did not find myself in Angela Merkel’s words who stated that “I had to wait 35 years for that feeling of liberty.”

I hear nervousness in The New York Times article that covers the implosion of the Socialist Republic through an exodus-misery frame. What are they afraid of? Why can’t they acknowledge that the contemporary U.S. or Germany can learn a thing or two from that past? The German Democratic Republic, the former East Germany, was hardly a quixotic place that I wish to reinstate, but I notice the willful erasure of any and all achievements of that short-lived social experiment; ...

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