Deva Woodly interviews Danielle Allen at the NSSR’s annual Hans Maeder lecture

Deva Woodly, assistant professor of politics at The New School for Social Research (NSSR) recently sat down with Danielle Allen, a professor in Government Department and Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, to discuss notions of liberty and equality in the contemporary American political landscape.

Allen, a political philosopher renowned for her ability to connect us to complex ideas about democracy, citizenship, and justice, came to the New School for Social Research in March 2016 to deliver its annual Hans Maeder lecture, with the proposal that “this talk helps us recover our understanding of the relationship between liberty and equality so that we can reclaim the power latent in their connection. In showing the links between liberty and equality, the talk touches on political, social, and economic aspects of equality.” Allen is the author of four books: The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education (2004), Why Plato Wrote (2010), and, most recently, Our Declaration (2014).


For more details about Deva Woodly’s publications, read the Research Matters profile and see a small selection from the NSSR Bookshelf below.

NSSR psychologists publish in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science

Two different studies from Department of Psychology at The New School for Social Research (NSSR) were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) earlier this year. The first, by post-doctoral fellow and Eugene Lang College alumnus Steven Frenda, illustrates the impact of sleep deprivation in interrogations of suspects. The second, by associate professor Jeremy Ginges, and post-doctoral fellow Hammad Sheikh, examines the connection between religious belief and intergroup relations.

Sleep Deprivation and False Confessions

Frenda is the lead author of Sleep deprivation and false confessions (PNAS, 2016), which finds that sleep-deprived people are far more likely to sign false confessions than those who are rested. Past research has already pointed to sleep deprivation interfering with people’s ability to think clearly, plan actions, and anticipate risk. With this in mind, Frenda believes that “innocent suspects, in particular, really need these skills and abilities intact in order to navigate a stressful interrogation in a way that protects their interests.” This study, according to Frenda, now gives direct evidence to demonstrate the role that sleep deprivation plays in the outcome of intense interrogation.

As the lead investigator, Frenda adapted a procedure that other researchers have used to study false confessions in a laboratory setting: observing participants’ completion of a series of computer tasks. In this case, participants were warned that pressing the Escape key on the keyboard would result in data loss. The following day, researchers asked the participants to sign statements falsely accusing them of having pressed the Escape key. After the first request, 18% of the rested participants and 50% of the sleep deprived participants agreed to sign the statement. After both requests, 39% of the rested participants and 68% of the sleep-deprived participants had signed.

Two short measures included in the study significantly predicted the likelihood of signing the statement: one was a simple self-report measure of sleepiness, and the other was a measure of impulsive decision-making. Frenda says that one implication of this finding is that in real-life scenarios, it may be possible to identify people who are especially vulnerable to the effects of sleep deprivation.

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Anthropology Publications: 2015

Faculty in the Department of Anthropology shared thoughts about their recent work.

Nicolas Langlitz

Nicolas Langlitz, Associate Professor of Anthropology, recently published the article “On a not so chance encounter of neurophilosophy and science studies in a sleep laboratory” (History of the Human Sciences, 2015) and “Vatted Dreams: neurophilosophy and the politics of phenomenal internalism” (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 2015).

Langlitz shared thoughts about this recent work:

“While anthropologists have long been interested in cultural otherness, we often seem to feel closer to an Amerindian shaman than to the reductionist philosopher down the corridor. This led me to take an ethnographic interest in neurophilosophers and to explore the common ground between anthropologists of science and empirically oriented philosophers of mind who have both been  frequenting brain research facilities since the 1970s without ever talking to each other.”

Other publications include Neuropsychedelia (University of California Press, 2012), and Die Zeit der Psychoanalyse (Suhrkamp, 2005).

Choose a publication below to learn more.


Bio | Langlitz received doctoral degrees both in medical anthropology (Berkeley) and history of medicine (Berlin). He is an anthropologist and historian of science studying epistemic cultures of mind and life sciences, especially neuroscience, psychopharmacology, and primatology. He was trained as a physician before conducting ethnographic fieldwork in two neuropsychopharmacology laboratories in Switzerland and California on the revival of psychedelic research since the 1990s.


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Economics Publications: 2015

Recent publications from faculty in the Department of Economics:

Paulo dos Santos

Paulo dos Santos, Assistant Professor of Economics, recently published the article “Not ‘wage-led’ versus ‘profit-led’, but investment-led versus consumption-led growth” (Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, 2015).

Other publications include “A Note on Credit Allocation, Income Distribution, and the Circuit of Capital” (Metroeconomica, 2014) and “A Cause for Policy Concern: The Expansion of Household Credit in Middle-Income Economies” (International Review of Applied Economics, 2013).

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Bio | dos Santos is Assistant Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research. He received his PhD in economics from University of London. dos Santos’ research involves Classical Political Economy; Banking and Monetary Theory; and the role of Finance in Economic Development. Much of his current work inquires into the distinctive social and macroeconomic content of contemporary financial practices and relations. He is interested in methodological issues in economic analysis, including the appropriate use and interpretation of mathematical formalisms.


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Historical Studies Publications: 2015

Faculty in Historical Studies shared thoughts about their recent work.

Orit Halpern

Orit Halpern, Assistant Professor of Historical Studies, recently published Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945 (Duke University Press, 2015), a genealogy of big data and interactivity.

Halpern shared thoughts about this book, and how she became interested in the topic:

“Whether building ‘smart’ cities, planning for global warming, or fighting wars through drones, today we believe that increasing the use of technology and computing will make us safer, produce a more sustainable and resilient world, and allow us to survive a future most often  depicted in terms of catastrophic, if not apocalyptic, events. In lieu of this sort of fetish for violent endings, it seems important to write histories that envision different futures. This book is  both a history of computing, design, and responsive environments, and (hopefully) a resource for producing new ideas for designers, social scientists, and humanities scholars about what type of technical world we wish to live in. I think the question today must be not only how will we survive? But how do we want to live? What world would we like to inhabit in the future? And how can we design technologies to make that world more just and diverse? Imagination always anticipates technology, and as scholars we can contribute to that imaginary.

I originally came from public health and international development in the late 1990’s, when the internet was all the hype. I was working in South Asia on ‘technology transfer’ projects, introducing the internet to NGO’s. I got really interested in how we were thinking about technology and progress, and particularly about the relationships between computing, power, knowledge, and political-economy. I began asking about histories of computing, and how computers are related to power (particularly militaries, empires, economies) and knowledge; and how ideas of technology and progress get naturalized through design and incorporated into daily life.”

Other publications include “Test Bed Urbanism” (Public Culture, 2013).

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Bio | Halpern is Assistant Professor of Historical Studies at the New School for Social Research. She received her PhD from Harvard University. Her research centers on histories of digital media, cybernetics, cognition and neuroscience, architecture, planning, and design. She is currently working on exhibitions, and has a number of future projects on histories of “smartness,” self­organization as a virtue and a democratic ideal, and the relationship between calculation, territory, and utopia throughout history.


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