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).

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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.

Eli Zaretsky

Eli Zaretsky, Professor of Historical Studies, recently published Political Freud: A History (Columbia University Press, 2015). Zaretsky was recently interviewed about the project for the site New Books in Psychoanalysis.

Zaretsky shared his thoughts about this new work:

“I wrote Political Freud as the result of many decades of thinking about psychoanalysis. I was struck by the one-sided way in which the new left and feminist movements rejected Freud, and by the way the culture in general turned against it, for example by uncritically accepting the claims of neuroscience, cognitive psychology and psychopharmacology.

Apart from its therapeutic potential Freudian thought is indispensable to understanding political events. It has given rise to a great tradition that I call Political Freud. This is the work of critical intellectuals and social movements committed to liberating people from oppression, both external and internal. The book treats several strands in this tradition including Black Liberation  feminism, gay liberation, pacifism and movements against anti-Semitism.  

The chapter on anti-Semitism came out of my experience as a Jew while other chapters came out of my experiences in the Civil Rights movement and in the New Left. One thing I discovered is that there is an important strand of Black Freudian thought involving such figures as Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison and Frantz Fanon. I also found that one of the best analyses of ‘9/11’ is psychoanalytic, by Judith Butler.  I argue that the feminist rejection of Freudianism was connected to the neo-liberal capture of important segments of feminism, and I try to explain why Freudianism was so important to twentieth century American culture.”

Other publications include the book Why America Needs a Left: A Historical Argument (Polity Press, 2012) and Secrets of the Soul: A Social and Cultural History of Psychoanalysis (Vintage, 2005).

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Bio | Zaretsky is Professor of Historical Studies at the New School for Social Research. He received his PhD from University of Maryland. His interests are in twentieth century cultural history, the theory and history of capitalism (especially its social and cultural dimensions), and the history of the family.


Other publication updates from the department:

Federico Finchelstein

Federico Finchelstein, Professor of Historical Studies, recently published El Mito del Fascismo. De Freud a Borges (Capital Intelectual, 2015).

Other publications include the book The Ideological Origins of the Dirty War (Oxford University Press, 2014), which focuses on the theory and practice of the fascist idea throughout the twentieth century, analyzing the connections between fascism and the Holocaust, antisemitism, and the military junta’s practices of torture and state violence, with its networks of concentration camps and extermination; and Transatlantic Fascism (Duke University Press, 2010) which studies the global connections between Italian and Argentine fascism.


Bio | Finchelstein is Professor and Chair of Historical Studies at the New School for Social Research. he received his PhD at Cornell University. He is the author of five books on fascism, populism, Dirty Wars, the Holocaust and Jewish history in Latin America and Europe. Professor Finchelstein has published more than fifty academic articles and reviews on Fascism, Latin American Populism, the Cold War, Genocide and Antisemitism in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian publications.


Selections of NSSR publications from 2015:

Anthropology | Economics | Historical Studies | Liberal Studies | Philosophy | Politics | Psychology | Sociology