Working Groups

Working groups are collaboratories consisting of graduate students and professors from within NYU as well as members of business, non-profit and academic arenas beyond NYU. Working groups write papers together, host conferences, and meet regularly to discuss individual projects. Most groups formally cohere for one or two years though some are sustained over a longer period of time. Each working group has unique goals and praxis and new groups are being formed all the time.

If you are a doctoral student or faculty member interested in participating in a working group, please contact: Gordon Douglas, IPK's Associate Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

IPK also accepts proposals for new working groups. For more information, see here.


  • Arjun Appadurai
  • Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication New York University
  • Benjamin Lee
  • University Professor of Anthropology and Philosophy The New School for Social Research
  • Robert Wosnitzer
  • PhD Candidate in Media, Culture, and Communication New York University


  • Erin O'Connor
  • Assistant Professor of Sociology Marymount Manhattan College
  • Richard Sennett
  • University Professor, NYU Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics
  • Harel Shapira
  • Postdoctoral Fellow Institute for Public Knowledge


  • Arjun Appadurai
  • Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication New York University
  • Craig Calhoun
  • University Professor of Social Science New York University
  • Stephen Collier
  • Assistant Professor, Graduate Program for International Affairs The New School
  • Jane Guyer
  • Professor & Chair Department of Anthropology | Johns Hopkins University
  • Benjamin Lee
  • University Professor of Anthropology and Philosophy The New School for Social Research
  • Randy Martin
  • Professor of Art and Public Policy New York University
  • Paul Melton
  • PhD Candidate in Media, Culture, and Communication New York University
  • Sanjay Reddy
  • Associate Professor of Economics New School for Social Research
  • Caitlin Zaloom
  • Assistant Professor of Social & Cultural Analysis New York University
  • Solon Barocas
  • PhD Candidate in Media, Culture, and Communication New York University
  • Raphaele Chappe
  • Doctoral Candidate | Department of Economics New School University
  • Peter Dimock
  • Editor | Bruce Initiative for Rethinking Capitalism
  • Elizabeth Koslov
  • PhD Student | Media, Culture & Communication New York University
  • Xiaochang Lee
  • PhD Student | Media, Culture & Communication New York University
  • Perry Mehrling
  • Professor in Economics Barnard College at Columbia University
  • Mary Poovey
  • Samuel Rudin University Professor in the Humanities New York University
  • Jennifer Telesca
  • PhD Candidate | Media, Culture & Communication | New York University
  • Natalia Besedovsky
  • PhD Candidate in Sociology Humboldt Universität
  • Kimberly Chong
  • PhD Candidate in Anthropology London School of Economics
  • Melissa Fisher
  • Assistant Professor | Anthropology Georgetown University
  • Bridget Kustin
  • PhD Candidate in Anthropology Johns Hopkins University
  • Edward LiPuma
  • Professor of Anthropology University of Miami
  • Robert Meister
  • Professor of Social and Political Thought | History of Consciousness UC Santa Cruz
  • Vyjayanthi Rao
  • Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs The New School
  • Robert Wosnitzer
  • PhD Candidate in Media, Culture, and Communication New York University


  • Colin Jerolmack
  • Assistant Professor of Sociology New York University
  • Richard Sennett
  • University Professor, NYU Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics
  • Iddo Tavory
  • Assistant Professor of Sociology New School for Social Research
  • Jooyoung Lee
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar University of Pennsylvania
  • Harel Shapira
  • Postdoctoral Fellow Institute for Public Knowledge
  • Lucia Trimbur
  • Assistant Professor of Sociology John Jay College
  • Erin O'Connor
  • Assistant Professor of Sociology Marymount Manhattan College
  • R. Tyson Smith
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research Rutgers University


    NYLON was created in 2001 by Craig Calhoun and Richard Sennett of New York University and the London School of Economics. It began as a network of young scholars within the two institutions and collaboration between them. Today, NYLON has expanded beyond its original boundaries; it now includes members from Cambridge and Oxford in the U.K.; from Chicago and Los Angeles in the U.S.; and on the Continent from Paris, Budapest and Frankfurt. NYLON researchers share a broad interest in culture and qualitative research methods; more, with ways that social processes turn into concrete cultural forms through practical activity. We are thus exploring informal, improvised social practices, as well as the bones of institutions; again, we try to integrate cultural analysis with an understanding of politics and political economy.

    NYLON is supported by New York University, London School of Economics, Cambridge University, Goldsmiths College-London and the Watermill Center for the Arts and Humanities.

  • Cultures of Finance

    The Cultures of Finance Working Group is an interdisciplinary effort to study the historical, technical, and social configurations of finance. Members include scholars from across the social sciences and humanities who are interested in engaging with recent work in the social studies of finance. Alongside technical devices, the group considers the ways in which cultures of finance circulate through ethical, political, social and discursive forms. Through a series of member meetings, public lectures, and special conferences, Cultures of Finance explores innovative research methods and develops research programs to address the complexity of what Arjun Appadurai has termed the global financescape.

    While early social scientific work on the economy did not draw a distinction between the social and the economic, a domain called the economy has been gradually cordoned off and subjected to increasingly technical arrangements, modes of calculation, and expert knowledge in the post-War era. One remarkable result of these interventions has been the emergence of vast circuits of financial action. In addition to technological apparatuses, constructed to resolve the smooth flow of capital across space and time, new knowledges, regimes of valuation, laws, and subjectivities have also been generated, accompanying the rise in the global circuits of circulating capital.

    Following the unprecedented rate of economic growth through the last 25 years, fueled by the explosive boom of financial forms of capital, we find ourselves in the ubiquitous company of finance. Home mortgages, student loans, credit cards, credit scores, retirement funds, and microfinance, once sequestered in specialized places, these activities and objects of capital markets have seeped into the spaces of everyday life. It is in the history of the evolving financescape (marked by a push towards ever increasing financialization) and its uncertain future (made visible through the contemporary credit crisis) that the Cultures of Finance Working Group finds its terrain.

    The Cultures of Finance working group writes a blog located here.

  • Craft of Ethnography

    Craft of Ethnography is a working group of early career scholars whose research and writing is rooted in the ethnographic method. The intellectual unity of the group is grounded in a shared belief that long-term participant observation fieldwork provides unique and valuable insights into the social world.

    The group meets regularly to discuss works-in-progress, focusing on a set of issues related to ethnographic field methods, and the special claims it allows its practitioners to make about social experiences, social practices, and social relations. The principal goal of the meetings is a rigorous examination of the process of transforming field notes into rich analytical accounts – including writing with an ethnographic voice; generalizing claims; integrating embodied and non-verbalized aspects of interaction.

    Members either are writing a manuscript or collecting ethnographic data. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

  • Humanitarian Action Initiative

     Since fall 2007 the Humanitarian Action Initiative has brought together practitioners and scholars working in the field of humanitarian action for discussions of shared interest. Sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, historians and others dialogue with representatives from the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, and research institutes to reflect on such topics as humanitarianism's role in geopolitics, its narrative forms, organizational practices, and ethical commitments.

    Beginning in fall 2011, the Initiative is focusing its attention on humanitarian narrative. The IPK has established a partnership with University of Bologna, Italy, and is actively seeking new partners to form an international network and pursue this line of inquiry.

  • Cities, Cultures, and Climate Change


    The aim of this working group is to foster rigorous, interdisciplinary research on the culture and politics of climate change, with an emphasis on cities but also with openness to additional sites and topics depending on participants’ interests. Through a series of regular meetings and occasional public events, we will engage emerging debates about cities and sustainability, the cultural politics of environmentalism, the possibilities for green design, the challenge of remaking infrastructure, and the problem of climate change governance. The complex nature of the issue and its impact necessitates a broad, interdisciplinary conversation between scholars across the social sciences, humanities, and professional schools, including fields built around design.

    The discussion we envision is also a global one: we welcome scholars working in and across different world regions. The nature of the issue challenges traditional divisions between Global North and Global South but also calls for depth of contextual knowledge. To this end, IPK will provide logistical assistance, meeting space, some funding and assistance in seeking external funds as appropriate to share work in progress on subjects such as: 

    -Cities and Climate Change

    -Democratizing the Green City

    -Critical Infrastructures

    -Green Design


  • Oikos

    OIKOS is an interdisciplinary working group for the study of economics through the lenses of kinship, gender, and the ethics of care. Oikos reading groups, research workshops, and lectures series will examine and debate both historical and recent approaches and will define a path forward for novel research and theory. Oikos reading groups will invite scholars and students to discuss classic texts on the family and economy (from Aristotle and Xenophon to Confucius and Mencius), Victorian theories of domestic and economic spheres, and historical, ethnographic and sociological case studies of how gender and kinship structure circulations of value. In Oikos research workshops, participants will be invited to present new research on the intersections of gender, kinship, sexuality and economic processes. Topics will include financial products as tools of mediation between the household and financial industries; network marketing as corporate forms built on and through religious households; second-world women as managers of household wealth and investors in financial services; debt and accumulation as legal forms built around joint persons, from couples to families to corporations. Our lecture series will bring senior and junior scholars to NYU to discuss the history and future of feminist economics, and relevant topics such as: structuring forms of connection and separation between family and firm, home and market, including social practices, media technologies, corporate forms, legal procedures, and financial instruments.

  • Race and Public Space

    Seven years ago, when U.S. citizens voted in Barack Obama as the first African American president, many pundits and scholars predicted the imminent end of racism in politics and popular culture. Today, however, concerns about racial discrimination and violence are growing, with heated debates over everything from immigration reform to disproportionate criminal sentencing to the use of lethal force against unarmed civilians. Still, deep insights into the social dynamics driving these issues are hard to come by, and innovative policy proposals about how to address them are especially difficult to find.

    The workshop on Race and Public Space investigates social difference through explorations of how people experience, narrate, critique, and experiment with social practices and policies that yield racial disparities and produce political fault lines. We will examine historical, ethnographic, and theoretical literatures that investigate how racial differences are produced in diverse social contexts. And we will pay special attention to the ways public space shapes the context of racial domination and differentiation, or, more hopefully, social change.

    If you are interested in participating in this working group, please contact Michael Ralph at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Featured Publications

Public Culture

Public Culture is IPK's interdisciplinary journal of transnational cultural studies.

Public Books

Public Books is a curated monthly review devoted to spirited debate about books and the arts.