Join Greg Grandin and Naomi Klein for a conversation about
The End of the Myth:
From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America
Books will be available for purchase
Photo of Greg Grandin by Don Usner
Books will be available for purchase
Photo of Greg Grandin by Don Usner
With the death last spring of Cecil Taylor—one of the most innovative musicians of the postwar period—the reach and influence of this extraordinary artist have become ever more apparent and justly celebrated. In Conquistador!, fellows of the New York Institute for the Humanities and noted musicians join to examine Taylor’s legacy in an evening of performances and conversations.
Scheduled participants include Yusef Komunyakaa, D.D. Jackson, Andrew Cyrille, Fred Moten, Kris Davis, Adam Shatz, Matthew Shipp, Tracie Morris, Craig Taborn, and Steve Dalachinsky.
This event is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required.
A recent strong account of Bruegel ends by asserting that his Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap presents us with a 'terrifying perspective' on the world. Is this right? What is Bruegel's “attitude” to the things he shows us? What is the difference between Bruegel's and Picasso's Fall of Icarus? Is the word “pessimism” called for in either case? How, in general, should language approach the non-language of paintings like The Cripples and Two Monkeys? Or come to that, like Picasso's Charnel House of 1945?
T.J. Clark is Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of many books including the seminal The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers and Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism.
On the occasion of Grace Schulman’s new memoir, Strange Paradise: Portrait of a Marriage, three writers who have shifted between genres will discuss the differences in process according to genre, how they decide to take on a new project, and many other topics related to writing fiction, poetry, memoir, and non-fiction.
Grace Schulman is an acclaimed poet, most recently recipient of the Frost Medal for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement in American Poetry, the highest award of the Poetry Society of America. Among her other honors are the Aiken Taylor Award for poetry, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, New York University's Distinguished Alumni Award, a Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and four Pushcart Prizes. Schulman is the author of seven collections of poems, including Without a Claim, her most recent, and Days of Wonder: New and Selected Poems, a Library Journal Best Books of the Year. Her prose essays are collected in First Loves and Other Adventures, and she is editor of The Poems of Marianne Moore. Schulman is former director of the Poetry Center, 92nd Street Y, and former poetry editor of the Nation. She is Distinguished Professor of English at Baruch College, CUNY.
Benjamin Taylor’s memoir, The Hue and Cry at Our House won the 2017 Los Angeles Times/Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiography and was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice; his Proust: The Search was named a Best Book of 2015 by Thomas Mallon in The New York Times Book Review and by Robert McCrum in The Observer (London); and his Naples Declared: A Walk Around the Bay was named a Best Book of 2012 by Judith Thurman in The New Yorker. He is also the author of two novels, Tales Out of School, winner of the 1996 Harold Ribalow Prize, and The Book of Getting Even, winner of a 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award, as well as a book-length essay, Into the Open. He edited Saul Bellow: Letters, named a Best Book of 2010 by Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times and Jonathan Yardley in The Washington Post, and Bellow’s There Is Simply Too Much to Think About: Collected Nonfiction, also a New York Times Editors’ Choice. His edition of the collected stories of Susan Sontag, Debriefing, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in November 2017. He is currently under contract to Penguin for a sequel to The Hue and Cry at Our House. Taylor is a founding faculty member in the New School’s Graduate School of Writing and teaches also in the Columbia University School of the Arts. He is a past fellow and current trustee of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and serves as president of the Edward F. Albee Foundation.
Meghan O’Rourke began her career as one of the youngest editors in the history of The New Yorker. Since then, she has served as culture editor and literary critic for Slate as well as poetry editor and advisory editor for The Paris Review. Her essays, criticism, and poems have appeared in Slate, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Redbook, Vogue, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and Best American Poetry. O’Rourke is also the author of the poetry collections Once (2011) and Halflife (2007), which was a finalist for both the Patterson Poetry Prize and Britain’s Forward First Book Prize. She was awarded the inaugural May Sarton Poetry Prize, the Union League Prize for Poetry from the Poetry Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, and a Front Page Award for her cultural criticism. She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and has taught at Princeton, The New School, and New York University.
Józef Czapski (1896–1993) lived many lives during his ninety-six years: student in Saint Petersburg during the Russian Revolution, painter in Paris in the roaring twenties, Polish reserve officer fighting the invading Nazis at the onset of World War II. When taken prisoner of war in a Soviet camp, and with nothing but memory to go on, he brought Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time to life for an audience of prison inmates. In a series of lectures, Czapski described the arc and import of Proust’s masterpiece, sketched major and minor characters in striking detail, and movingly evoked the work’s originality, depth, and beauty. Eric Karpeles has translated this remarkable feat of the critical imagination into English in addition to authoring the first biography of this towering figure. Anka Muhlstein joins Karpeles in a conversation about this singular project and astoundingly complex figure.
ERIC KARPELES Painter, writer; author of Paintings in Proust; Almost Nothing: The 20th-Century Art and Life of Jósef Czapski; translator of Czapski’s Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp
in conversation with
ANKA MUHLSTEIN Historian, biographer; author of Balzac’s Omelette; Monsieur Proust’s Library; The Pen and the Brush
Co-sponsored by La Maison Française, the New York Institute for the Humanities and New York Review Books
She-ba, 1970. Collage on paper, cloth and synthetic polymer paint on composition board, 48 x 35 7/8 in. (122 x 91.2 cm). Photography credit: Allen Phillips/Wadsworth Atheneum. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1971.12.
Join Mary Schmidt Campbell, PhD, President of Spelman College and artist Melvin Edwards for a reading and discussion of Schmidt Campbell's definitive biography of one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, An American Odyssey:
The Life and Work of Romare Bearden (Oxford University Press)
As Dr. Campbell shows us in this immersive biography, the relationship between art and race was central to Bearden's life and work--a constant, driving creative tension. Dr. Campbell's book offers a full and vibrant account of Bearden's life: from his years in Harlem (his studio was above the Apollo theater) to his travels and commissions, along with illuminating analysis of his work and artistic career. Campbell, who met Bearden in the 1970s, was among the first to compile a catalogue of his works. An American Odyssey goes far beyond that, offering a living portrait of an artist and the impact he made upon the world he sought both to recreate and celebrate.
Co-sponsored by New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU and Office of the Dean, NYU Tisch
For the last 2,500 years literature has been attacked, booed, and condemned, often for the wrong reasons and occasionally for very good ones. The Hatred of Literature, by William Marx, examines the evolving idea of literature as seen through the eyes of its adversaries: philosophers, theologians, scientists, pedagogues, and even leaders of modern liberal democracies. From Plato to C. P. Snow to Nicolas Sarkozy, literature’s haters have questioned the value of literature—its truthfulness, virtue, and usefulness—and have attempted to demonstrate its harmfulness.
Literature does not start with Homer or Gilgamesh, William Marx says, but with Plato driving the poets out of the city, like God casting Adam and Eve out of Paradise. That is its genesis. From Plato the poets learned for the first time that they served not truth but merely the Muses. It is no mere coincidence that the love of wisdom (philosophia) coincided with the hatred of poetry. Literature was born of scandal, and scandal has defined it ever since.
In the long rhetorical war against literature, Marx identifies four indictments—in the name of authority, truth, morality, and society. This typology allows him to move in an associative way through the centuries. In describing the misplaced ambitions, corruptible powers, and abysmal failures of literature, anti-literary discourses make explicit what a given society came to expect from literature. In this way, anti-literature paradoxically asserts the validity of what it wishes to deny. The only threat to literature’s continued existence, Marx writes, is not hatred but indifference.
After an initial presentation by William Marx, American writer Ben Lerner, who has engaged similar themes in his book The Hatred of Poetry (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016), will respond and join Marx in discussion of their underlying convictions.
Writer, critic, professor of Comparative Literature, Université Paris Nanterre; author of La Haine de la littérature (The Hatred of Literature, Harvard University Press, 2018)
Ben Lerner, respondent
Poet, novelist, critic; MacArthur Fellow; author of No Art; Leaving the Atocha Station; 10:04; The Hatred of Poetry
Eric Banks, moderator
Director, New York Institute for the Humanities
Sponsored by La Maison Française and the New York Institute for the Humanities
Lawrence Weschler, writer; Carl Schoonover, Postdoctoral Fellow, Axel Lab, Columbia University; and Beth Campbell, artist, will ponder the way branching patterns keep appearing at different scales and in different guises, from the dendrites of Cajal’s neurons to the decision trees in Campbell’s work.
Co-sponsored by NYU’s New York Institute for the Humanities and Grey Art Gallery.
Free of charge, capacity limited, and subject to change. Photo ID required for entrance to NYU buildings.
On Friday, December 8th please join us for “Svetlana Boym: Exile and Imagination”: A film by Judith Wechsler. The screening will be followed by a discussion between Wechsler and Anne Lounsbery, Associate Professor of Russian Literature and Chair of the Department of Russian & Slavic Studies at New York University. This event is co-sponsored by the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU and the NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia.
This one hour documentary film is about the life and work of Svetlana Boym, literary and cultural critic. In 1980, age 21, Svetlana left the USSR for the US. After graduate studies at Boston University and Harvard, she became the Carl Hugo Reisinger Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature at Harvard University.
A brilliant writer of ambitious scope and great imagination, combining personal memoir with philosophical essay and historical analysis, she explored motifs of exile, nostalgia, the diasporic imagination and different forms of freedom in Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Mandelstahm, Akhmatova, Nabokov, Brodsky, and many others, in a total of six books, with two more about to appear.
Through videos of her lectures and interviews, together with photographs since her childhood, and her own photographs, and photomontages, we convey this remarkable person and her scholarly, critical, and artistic contributions. Interviews with family, teachers, colleagues, students and friends provide different perspectives. Much of the text of the film is drawn from Svetlana Boym’s writings and lectures.
Exuberant, ironic and witty, Boym was a charismatic critic and teacher until her untimely death from cancer, at age of 56.
The film is distributed by the Circulating Film Library of the Museum of Modern Art, NY
Judith Wechsler is an art historian and filmmaker. She has written and directed 28 films, predominantly on art, for the Louvre, with the Comèdie francaise, for the Metropolitan Museum and others. Her most recent films include “The Passages of Walter Benjamin” and “Aby Warburg: Exile and Imagination”. Wechsler is the National Endowment for the Humanities Professor in art history Emerita at Tufts University, taught for many years at MIT and was visiting professor at Harvard, The Ecole normale supèrieure in Paris and The Hebrew University, Jerusalem. She is the author of A Human Comedy, Physiognomy and Caricature in 19th Century Paris, and books on Cézanne and Daumier as well as numerous articles and essays on 19th and 20th century art. Wechsler was a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, at Bogliasco, and at the van Leer Foundation in Jerusalem. The French government named her a Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres.
In his new book The Politics of Opera, Mitchell Cohen takes readers on a fascinating journey into the entwined development of opera and politics, from the Renaissance through the turn of the nineteenth century. What political backdrops have shaped opera? How has opera conveyed the political ideas of its times? Delving into European history and thought and an array of music by such greats as Lully, Rameau, and Mozart, Mitchell Cohen reveals how politics—through story lines, symbols, harmonies, and musical motifs—has played an operatic role both robust and sotto voce.
Join Cohen and respondents Katha Pollitt and Mark Anderson for a conversation about the intersections of music, the state, and politics.
Mitchell Cohen is professor of political science at Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center and editor emeritus of Dissent.
Katha Pollitt is a columnist for The Nation
Mark Anderson is Professor of German at Columbia University
Cosponsored with La Maison Française & the NYU Department of French Literature, Thought, and Culture
Join us for a panel discussion marking the appearance of new translations of the work of Michel Leiris: Phantom Africa, translated by Brent Hayes Edwards and Fibrils, Vol. 3 of The Rules of the Game, translated by Lydia Davis.
Books will be available for purchase at a discount.
Brent Hayes Edwards (Columbia University)
Lydia Davis (writer, translator)
Richard Sieburth (NYU)
Vincent Debaene (Université de Genève)
Moderated by Denis Hollier (NYU)
The New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU
the Institute for Public Knowledge present:
Franco Moretti in Conversation
with Leah Price
and Nicholas Dames
moderated by Virginia Heffernan
On Computer-Aided Criticism
& the Stanford Literary Lab
Franco Moretti is Permanent Fellow, Wissenschaftskolleg Zu Berlin
Leah Price is Francis Lee Higginson Professor of English Literature at Harvard
Nicholas Dames is Theodore Kahan Professor of Humanities at Columbia
Virginia Heffernan is a Contributing Editor at Politico and the author of Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art
NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge and the NYIH at NYU invite you to join us for a launch event for Rachel Sherman’s new book Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence (Princeton University Press, 2017). Sherman will be present in conversation with Ron Lieber.
From TV’s “real housewives” to The Wolf of Wall Street, our popular culture portrays the wealthy as materialistic and entitled. But what do we really know about those who live on “easy street”? In this penetrating book, Rachel Sherman draws on rare in-depth interviews that she conducted with fifty affluent New Yorkers—including hedge fund financiers and corporate lawyers, professors and artists, and stay-at-home mothers—to examine their lifestyle choices and their understanding of privilege. Sherman upends images of wealthy people as invested only in accruing and displaying social advantages for themselves and their children. Instead, these liberal elites, who believe in diversity and meritocracy, feel conflicted about their position in a highly unequal society. They wish to be “normal,” describing their consumption as reasonable and basic and comparing themselves to those who have more than they do rather than those with less. These New Yorkers also want to see themselves as hard workers who give back and raise children with good values, and they avoid talking about money.
Although their experiences differ depending on a range of factors, including whether their wealth was earned or inherited, these elites generally depict themselves as productive and prudent, and therefore morally worthy, while the undeserving rich are lazy, ostentatious, and snobbish. Sherman argues that this ethical distinction between “good” and “bad” wealthy people characterizes American culture more broadly, and that it perpetuates rather than challenges economic inequality.
As the distance between rich and poor widens, Uneasy Street not only explores the real lives of those at the top but also sheds light on how extreme inequality comes to seem ordinary and acceptable to the rest of us.
Rachel Sherman is associate professor of sociology at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College. Her first book, Class Acts: Service and Inequality in Luxury Hotels (University of California Press, 2007), analyzes how workers, guests, and managers in luxury hotels make sense of and negotiate class inequalities that marked their relationships.
Ron Lieber is a journalist and author of the “Your Money” column for The New York Times, which addresses a variety of personal finance issues, from investing to paying for college to mortgages and homes. He is also the author of The Opposite of Spoiled, a guide to teaching kids about money and values.
Princeton University Press and the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University are pleased to announce the second the Second Annual PUP/NYIH Lecture in the Humanities. With the aim of highlighting both the value and the relevance of the humanities, this new lecture will be given annually in New York by notable figures from a wide range of fields and will explore humanistic topics and themes.
This year's lecture will be given by Annette Gordon-Reed, who is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Gordon-Reed won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009 for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton, 2009). Her most recently published book (with Peter S. Onuf) is “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (Liveright Publishing, 2016). Gordon-Reed's lecture, "Thomas Jefferson’s Imagined Black Nation," draws on her research from this book. Thomas Jefferson had a vision of enslaved African Americans as a "captive nation," a nation that could not coexist peacefully with the American nation. How did Jefferson come to this view? What are we to make of him in light of his pessimism about the possibility of a multiracial, multicultural society?
Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus is Laura Kipnis's provocative argument for how the “recent upheavals in sexual culture on American campuses” are symptomatic of “officially sanctioned” sexual paranoia and hysteria. She will be joined in conversation by the cultural critical Shamus Khan, of Columbia University.
Laura Kipnis is a cultural critic/essayist whose work focuses on sexual politics, emotion, acting out, bad behavior, and various other crevices of the American psyche. She is the author of MEN: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation (November 2014/ Metropolitan), and her latest book is Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus; her previous books, which include How To Become a Scandal and Against Love, have been translated into over fifteen languages. She teaches in the filmmaking program at Northwestern University.
Shamus Khan is associate professor of sociology at Columbia University, where he is the director of the graduate program. He is also an editor at Public Culture and writes on culture, inequality, and elites.
This event was co-sponsored by the Institute for Public Knowledge and Public Books.
Noah Isenberg will present his book in conversation with film critic, journalist and author James L. Hoberman.
Leonard Barkan presents his new book in conversation with Ben Kafka.
Damion Searls presents his new translation of Alfred Döblin’s Bright Magic: Stories in conversation with Eric Banks
Florence Noiville in conversation with Norman Manea
Charles Musser presents his new book in conversation with Thomas Beard
Salman Rushdie is interviewed by Lila Azam Zanganeh.
With Evelyn Barish, George Prochnik, Michael Scammell, and Richard Wolin.
An evening of eclectic readings with Negar Azimi and Michael C. Vazquez, senior editors, Bidoun.
Join us for a conversation about this vibrant narrative history of three hallowed Manhattan blocks. St. Marks native Ada Calhoun will talk with Ginia Bellafante about the iconic characters and infamous anecdotes that have long made St. Marks the epicenter of American cool.
Thomas Laqueur, the Helen Fawcett Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, will talk about his forthcoming book, The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains.
Deutsches Haus at NYU and the New York Institute of the Humanities at NYU present a conversation between novelist Daniel Kehlmann and magician Mark Mitton on "Consciousness and the Art of Illusion." Kehlmann and Mitton, who is a working magician and an expert on physical misdirection, will discuss illusion in literature and magic.