Faculty Contributions to Public Seminar

Public Seminar, an online exchange of critical perspectives on contemporary social issues, began at the New School for Social Research and now has contributions and readers from around the world. Several NSSR faculty have shared thoughts on pressing matters, have debated healthily with their peers, and have used Public Seminar as a tool for pedagogical experimentation.

Here are just some of many contributions made by our faculty in the last year.


Julia Ott: Slaves: The Capital That Made Capitalism

Excerpt: “Racialized chattel slaves were the capital that made capitalism. While most theories of capitalism set slavery apart, as something utterly distinct, because under slavery, workers do not labor for a wage, new historical research reveals that for centuries, a single economic system encompassed both the plantation and the factory.

Family_of_African_American_slaves_on_Smiths_Plantation_Beaufort_South_Carolina-crop-473x375At the dawn of the industrial age commentators like Rev. Thomas Malthus could not envision that capital — an asset that is used but not consumed in the production of goods and services — could compound and diversify its forms, increasing productivity and engendering economic growth. Yet, ironically, when Malthus penned his Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, the economies of Western Europe already had crawled their way out of the so-called “Malthusian trap.” The New World yielded vast quantities of “drug foods” like tobacco, tea, coffee, chocolate, and sugar for world markets. Europeans worked a little bit harder to satiate their hunger for these “drug foods.” The luxury-commodities of the seventeenth century became integrated into the new middle-class rituals like tea-drinking in the eighteenth century. By the nineteenth century, these commodities became a caloric and stimulative necessity for the denizens of the dark satanic mills. The New World yielded food for proletarians and fiber for factories at reasonable (even falling) prices. The “industrious revolution” that began in the sixteenth century set the stage for the Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

But the “demand-side” tells only part of the story. A new form of capital, racialized chattel slaves, proved essential for the industrious revolution — and for the industrial one that followed.”

Read the full piece at Public Seminar.

Bio| Julia Ott is Associate Professor of Historical Studies and Co-director of the Robert L. Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University. Ott was a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in 2009-2010. Ott specializes in economic history and political history. She is the author of When Wall Street Met Main Street: The Quest for an Investors’ Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2011).

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New NSSR Award Recognizes Graduate Student Teaching

This past Spring term, the New School for Social Research created the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award to recognize the teaching efforts of its graduate students.

Students and faculty nominated 35 students for the award. Seven award winners were chosen from the nominees. The winners were lauded for their ability to connect complex topics to students’ lived experiences, provoke interesting and respectful discussion, while creating a dynamic and inclusive learning environment.

The 2015 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award winners are:

Malgorzata Bakalarz, Sociology
Martin Fagin, Psychology
Lara-Zuzan Golesorkhi, Politics
Krista Johansson, Philosophy
Abid Khan, Economics
Hannah Knafo, Psychology
Brandon (Biko) Koenig, Politics

The award will be given annually and the winners recognized at the Dean’s Welcome Reception on Thursday, September 24th.

Institute for Critical Social Inquiry Announces 2016 Faculty Lineup

(text from The New School’s Marketing and Communications, Sep. 1 2015):

ICSI copyright Paulo SaludThis summer, The New School’s Institute for Critical Social Inquiry (ICSI), will launch its second year of Summer Seminars. Housed at The New School for Social Research (NSSR) in New York City, the ICSI, founded and directed by Ann Stoler, offers advanced graduate students and faculty from around the world a weeklong Fellowship in which they work closely with eminent scholars who have shaped how we think today.

The Summer Seminars will run from June 12-18, 2016 and will be led by Jay M. Bernstein (New School for Social Research), who will convene the seminar Of Masters and Slaves: Reading Hegel’s Phenomenology; Judith Butler (University of California, Berkeley), who will convene the seminar Freud to Klein: Death Drive, Pleasure, Ethics; and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Columbia), who will convene the seminar Why Marx Today?.

ICSIStudent_1688_PauloSaludCopyright_webBorn of The New School’s historic focus on exploring pressing contemporary issues, the ICSI is designed to cultivate a style of critical inquiry that applies conceptual care and innovation to real-world problems. ICSI provides a rare opportunity for young and seasoned scholars to re-immerse themselves in intensive graduate-level study with leading theorists in morning Master Classes and to workshop their dissertations and book projects in the afternoon.

“ICSI is founded on the premise that responding to current and emergent problems requires developing our collective capacities to formulate new and better questions, rather than relying on ready-made theories,” said Ann Laura Stoler, the founding director of the ICSI and Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research. Stoler is the author of a range of books on colonialisms, imperial genealogies, sexuality and race, most recently Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination, as well as Duress: Concept-Work for Our Times, forthcoming from Duke University Press.

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The application portal for the 2016 Summer Seminars opens Sept. 1, 2015 and closes Dec. 1, 2015. International scholars, especially those in the Global South, are encouraged to apply; scholarships and travel grants are available.

The 2015 inaugural cohort of fellows included PhD candidates, post-doctoral scholars, and junior and senior faculty from 17 countries who worked intensively in seminars led by Talal Asad (City University of New York), Simon Critchley (NSSR), and Patricia J. Williams (Columbia Law School).


Willi Semmler Appointed to Evaluation Committee at International Research Institute

Willi Semmler, Henry Arnhold Professor of Economics, has been appointed to the evaluation team at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria. He joins several other representatives on an international committee to review research programs related to advanced systems analysis; water; and, risk, policy, and vulnerability.

The IASA is considered an important large-scale research institute conducting academic research for several purposes, including reaching the United Nations’ stated Sustainable Development goals. The institution supports research on issues of global impact, and its mission, described in its current strategic plan, is “to provide insights and guidance to policymakers worldwide by finding solutions to global and universal problems through applied systems analysis in order to improve human and social wellbeing and to protect the environment.”


Bio | Semmler is Henry Arnhold Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research. He received his PhD from the Free University of Berlin. His research and teaching interests are: Empirical Macroeconomics, Macroeconomics of the US and EU, Financial Markets, Economics of Climate Change, Business Cycles, and Macro Dynamics. Semmler recently co-authored The Oxford Handbook of the Macroeconomics of Global Warming (Oxford University Press, 2015). Other publications include Reconstructing Keynesian Macroeconomics, Volume 2: Integrated Approaches (Routledge, 2012) and Asset Prices, Booms and Recessions: Financial Economics from a Dynamic Perspective (Springer Publishing, 2011).

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