We are pleased to announce that Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology at New York University, has been named Director of the IPK by NYU's Office of the Provost; he replaces our founding director, Craig Calhoun, who has become the Director of the London School of Economics.
Professor Klinenberg has served as a Senior Fellow of the IPK since its founding, and has been an active participant in a variety of our activities. Under Professor Klinenberg's leadership, IPK will continue to support a wide range of research projects, convenings, and collaborations. Our ongoing initiatives include the Craft of Ethnography, NYLON, the Cultures of Finance, and Belonging Today, and this year we will be adding substantial programming on the future of cities as well.
We are delighted to announce that the acclaimed journal Public Culture is now being edited by Eric Klinenberg and produced here at IPK. Since its founding in 1988, Public Culture has become a premier outlet for international research on cultural globalization, cosmopolitanism, and the public sphere, and it will continue publishing work on these topics. Public Culture will also feature innovative scholarship and moving images from authors and artists who want to engage ideas that transcend academic disciplines and reach beyond the university as well. It will be a venue where strong writing and clear argumentation are recognized as craft virtues, where the wide dissemination of specialized research is an overriding goal.
We are also excited to announce that today marks the official launch of a new IPK publication, Public Books, which is edited by John Jackson (University of Pennsylvania), Sharon Marcus (Columbia University), and Caitlin Zaloom (NYU). Like its sister publication, Public Culture, Public Books supports an international community of emerging and established intellectuals and artists committed to vigorous debate about works and ideas that deserve timely, intensive discussion. The online journal's contributors are scholars who write accessibly without sacrificing sophistication or depth; artists energized by research; and activists engaged with serious ideas. Our goal is to make reading Public Books feel like sitting in on a great seminar, or being at a party where people are talking about books they have read and enjoyed. The title Public Books encapsulates our intent to combine the liveliness, timeliness, and communality of public life with the craft, reflection, and care associated with books at their best. The site is gorgeously designed and easy to navigate. Please take a moment to visit, and help us get it out into the world.
Finally, we're pleased to announce that this year IPK will host a series of conversations on cities: City Talks. The meetings, which are open to NYU faculty and selected doctoral students, will feature presentations of new research by faculty from all parts of the university, and ample time for debate. We hope that City Talks will become a vibrant forum for discussions about the fate of the metropolis, and that it will promote the development of collaborative, multidisciplinary projects by NYU's extraordinary roster of urban specialists.
What are cultures of circulation, and how can they be understood in ways that inform critical scholarship and relationships between academic work and public engagement in globalized settings? This special issue takes up the dialectics of circulation and the programmatic of culture as practice, proposing avenues for further research as well as opportunities for self-reflexive uses of the concept within academic debates and via wider public engagement.
The articles that make up this special issue took shape in a workshop on the sociology of culture held in Ottawa, Canada in April 2011, hosted with the generous support of the Institute of Public Knowledge, Carleton University, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Contributors to the issue are former members of the academic collective NYLON, and are now professors and professionals (“NYLUMs”) working in institutions across the United States, Canada, and Europe.
NYLON is a transnational research group founded in 2001 by Craig Calhoun and Richard Sennett. The group’s motive force was the desire for “bridge-building” – not only between British and North American scholars and scholarly traditions but also between sociology and cultural studies and what we saw as unproductive divisions between social organization, social action and the production of meaning more generally. We are indebted to these intellectual roots in terms of both our collective orientation to the study of culture and our commitment to fostering similarly collaborative and interdisciplinary work among our colleagues and students.
Guest editors: Melissa Aronczyk (Carleton University) and Ailsa Craig (Memorial University)
Introduction: Cultures of Circulation
Melissa Aronczyk and Ailsa Craig
How Facts Travel: The Model Systems of Sociology
Michael Guggenheim and Monika Krause
Care and Value at the End of Life
Free to Those Who Can Afford It: The Everyday Affordance of Privilege
Noah McClain and Ashley Mears
The Pirates of Nevskii Prospekt: Intellectual Property, Piracy, and Institutional Diffusion in Russia
Ways of Owning: Towards an Economic Sociology of Privatization
Philanthrocapitalism and Its Critics
Conflictinator: Media, Metaphors, and Citizen Audiences
Deadline for Applications: 15 April 2012
This interdisciplinary dissertation workshop is concerned with class identities, formations, genealogies, cultures, and power relations in processes of globalization, past and present. It seeks to globalize class in three distinct, connected ways.
1) We seek to open up spatial frames for the study of class, as widely as possible, using the term “globalize” to signal immeasurable spatial possibilities and also to evoke the many contested meanings of the term “global” that are in circulation today.
2) We seek to complicate and specify the spatial framing of class, so as to move beyond assumptions of methodological nationalism, which (mostly invisibly) identify class status and power with national culture, society, and political economy. How this might work in practice appears when we consider the spatial framing of E.P.Thompson’s Making of the English Working Class (Vintage, 1963), which covers a period in history when English class formations were travelling the seas and extending their reach among continents. In a mobile spatial framing of class, we may also find that cultural meanings of “class,” in the sense of ”classiness,” may require access to transnational commodity chains and participation in extensive class relations, informed by cultural capital on the move, in the guise of Orientalism, nationalism, or neo-liberalism.
3) We want to analyze the practical work of globalizing classes in expanding capitalism, from early days of mercantilism to the present. Trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, and Indian Ocean migrations and transplantations of capital and labor move along specific networks, from place to place, forming distinctive sites of class relations, inter-connected and inter-dependent, but also imbued with their own cultural character. We can use mobile spatial lens to follow interlaced migrations of capital and labor, the trans-national formation of middle classes, and the productivity of consumer-class cultures amidst the flow of values and commodities, such as those that define the iconic character portrayed in The Modern Girl Around the World: Consumption, Modernity, and Globalization (Duke, 2008).
Professor of Sociology and IPK Senior Fellow Eric Klinenberg speaks with Brian Lehrer on WNYC today about his new book Going Solobased on interviews with 300 people who live alone.
Living alone is a rising trend in America and abroad, but common conceptions of single dwellers as lonely or socially isolated are inaccurate. Klinenberg's research reveals that singletons are more likely to get out of their homes and participate in the social scene at restaurants and neighborhood groups than are their counterparts who live with others.
** Update: Going Solo was reviewed in The New Yorker's 16 April 2012 issue by Nathan Heller. **
Critical Social Studies of International Health
June 7-8, 2010
Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU
Issues of international health regularly command enormous attention in academia, government, and indeed on the world stage. The increasing centrality of international health, as evidenced by the recent panic around the H1N1 epidemic, invites critical reflection from the social sciences. However, no one academic discipline within the social sciences provides all the theoretical and methodological tools to study the multifaceted features of international health.
On June 7 and 8, 2010, the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU will host an intensive two-day dissertation workshop to help Ph.D. students who are working on local, national, and global aspects of health from various theoretical and methodological perspectives. It will offer the students an opportunity to share their material with instructors and other participants from different disciplinary backgrounds. The workshop will be chaired by Dr. Manjari Mahajan, Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge and Program Officer at the Social Science Research Council.
Students from all fields of the social sciences and humanities who have started writing their dissertation are encouraged to apply. While students in any Ph.D. program at any university are able to participate, please note that the program is organized for NYU students, and we are unable to provide funds for travel and lodging. Each student will be expected to share a chapter or an article, and will receive detailed feedback from the instructors and other participants on methodological, theoretical, and substantive issues. The workshop will additionally facilitate building a network among students who are in the writing phase of their dissertation, a period that can often be isolating.
Manjari Mahajan’s research interests include science and technology studies, public health, law and science, and humanitarian emergencies. Her work focuses on the politics and sociology of the AIDS epidemics in India and South Africa. She earned her doctorate from the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University in 2008, and holds a BA from Harvard University.
Jumping Scales: Studying and writing about
The Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU is offering a
three-day dissertation workshop titled "Jumping Scales:
Studying and Writing about Transational Processes." It is open
to students of all disciplines who are writing their Ph.D.
dissertations on transnational issues. The workshop will be
held on May 10-12.
Location: Institute for Public Knowledge, New York, USA
Workshop Date: May 10-12, 2010
Deadline for Application (details below): February 28, 2010
This workshop is organized and directed by Sally Merry and
Nicolas Guilhot (full bios below).
Some of the most important topics of our time are also the
fuzziest objects when it comes to study them: human rights,
global governance, humanitarianism, development, transnational
networks, processes of global intellectual or institutional
diffusion. If you are currently writing your Ph.D. dissertation
on similar topics, you may have spent a lot of time wondering
about substantial as well as methodological issues, no matter
what your core discipline is. How does one write about a
"global" object? What's the proper way of handling it? From
which side do you hold it – the thick description of the local
or the wide but maybe thin expanse of the global? How should
one relate the description of situated empirical material to
the consideration of international or transnational issues?
How does one track the global diffusion of a set of ideas or
Most of the disciplinary toolboxes turn out to be ill-equipped
when the moment comes to "jump scales" from the local to the
global level: sociology, anthropology, law or political science
each provide some insights, but hardly a method. Or maybe they
have developed an international perspective so late in their
historical development and have remained so tethered to a
national framework that they have created an artificial gap
between the so-called local and the so-called global. Maybe
there are no scales to jump, after all.
Jumping scales is an intensive three-day workshop organized by
the Institute for Public Knowledge to help dissertating
students escape their isolation and share both their work and
the problems they encounter. Each student will have the
opportunity to discuss his or her project with the other
students and with two instructors, who will facilitate
discussion and offer comments. The objective of the workshop
is to help students connect their own work to wider debates –
both around their topics and around methodological issues. The
workshop is student-centered and allows for the in-depth
discussion of each project, as well as general discussions.
Sally Engle Merry is Professor of Anthropology and Director of
the Law and Society Program at New York University. Her recent
books include Colonizing Hawai'i: The Cultural Power of Law
(Princeton University Press, 2000), Human Rights and Gender
Violence: Translating International Law into Local Justice
(University of Chicago Press, 2006), and The Practice of Human
Rights: Tracking Law between the Local and the Global (co-edited
with Mark Goodale; Cambridge University Press, 2007). She is
past president of the Law and Society Association and the
Association for Political and Legal Anthropology and a member
of the Executive Board of the American Anthropological
Association and of the Law and Society Association. The Law and
Society Association awarded her the Hurst Prize for Colonizing
Hawai'i in 2002 and the Kalven Prize for overall scholarly
contributions to sociolegal scholarship in 2007.
Nicolas Guilhot is a senior researcher at the CNRS. His
research focuses on the history of international relations
theory, and on the role of philanthropy in the development of
the social sciences. Guilhot has taught in the department of
sociology and the Center for the Study of Human Rights at the
London School of Economics, and at Columbia University. He
earned his doctorate from the European University Institute in
Florence in 2001. His recent publications include The Democracy
Makers: Human Rights and the Politics of Global Order
(Columbia University Press, 2005) and a forthcoming volume on
international relations theory at Columbia University Press.
He is also executive editor of Humanity: An International
Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, a
new journal published by the University of Pennsylvania press
starting in Fall 2010.
Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of
Globalization, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1996,
Pierre Bourdieu, "The Social Conditions of the International
Circulation of Ideas," in Richard Shusterman (ed.), Bourdieu:
A Critical Readers, Oxford, Blackwell, 1999, p. 220-228.
Yves Dezalay & Bryan Garth, The internationalization of palace
wars: lawyers, economists, and the contest to transform Latin
American states, Chicago, Chicago University Press, 2002,
p. 3-16, 32-58
Margaret Keck & Kathryn Sikkink, Activists beyond borders:
advocacy networks in international politics, Ithaca, Cornell
University Press, 1998, Introduction, p. 1-39.
Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to
Actor-Network Theory, Oxford University Press, 2005,
Introduction + p. 173-190.
George Marcus, "Ethnography in/of the World System: The
Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography," in Ethnography through
thick and thin, Princeton University Press, 1998, p. 79-104.
To apply, please provide a brief statement (1 page) of your
proposed research. Please also include a one-paragraph bio
describing your educational background and academic work, your
contact information, and anything you think is relevant about
your research profile.
Workshop participants will be selected on the basis of their
research projects and the possibility for meaningful exchanges
among other participants. Please submit proposals and bios to
February 28, 2010.
On October 22, 2009, the IPK, the SSRC, and Stony Brook University held a public symposium on "Rethinking Secularism: the Power of Religion in the Public Sphere.
The event featured four of the world’s leading public intellectuals: Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornel West; each gave powerful accounts of religion in the public sphere.
The audio from this event is available at the SSRC blog, The Immanent Frame.
The Institute for Public Knowledge has launched the beta version of a Public Sphere Guide, co-sponsored with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). The Public Sphere Guide is a research and teaching guide, creating a map of the fragmented interdisciplinary field of study and building a resource for the renewal of the public sphere.
This mapping project is accompanied by an interactive essay forum on Transformations of the Public Sphere. The initial contributions to the essay forum include essays related to a mini-plenary of the recent International Communication Association conference as well as an essay by IPK Director Craig Calhoun on "Remaking America: Public Institutions and the Public Good".
Artist Yegizaw Michael's show of new works on canvas, Crossings: a visual exploration of crisis was on view at the Institute for Public Knowledge from March 24, 2009 through June 26, 2009.
Graduate student Leah T. Abraha collaborated with Muna Mohamed and Dawit Habte to develop an online video piece based on this show which features images from the opening reception, slides of Michael's paintings, and an essay written by Ms. Abraha about the show. View it on YouTube.