Book Launch

Book Launch | What Is an Event?

09/25 Monday | 6pm

NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to join us for the launch of Robin Wagner-Pacifici’s latest book, What Is an Event? out now from the University of Chicago Press. The author will be present in conversation with Iddo Tavory and Bruce Grant.

We live in a world of breaking news, where at almost any moment our everyday routine can be interrupted by a faraway event. Events are central to the way that individuals and societies experience life. Even life’s inevitable moments—birth, death, love, and war—are almost always a surprise. Inspired by the cataclysmic events of September 11, Robin Wagner-Pacifici presents here a tour de force, an analysis of how events erupt and take off from the ground of ongoing, everyday life, and how they then move across time and landscape.

What Is an Event? ranges across several disciplines, systematically analyzing the ways that events emerge, take shape, gain momentum, flow, and even get bogged down. As an exploration of how events are constructed out of ruptures, it provides a mechanism for understanding eventful forms and flows, from the micro-level of individual life events to the macro-level of historical revolutions, contemporary terrorist attacks, and financial crises. Wagner-Pacifici takes a close look at a number of cases, both real and imagined, through the reports, personal narratives, paintings, iconic images, political posters, sculptures, and novels they generate and through which they live on. What is ultimately at stake for individuals and societies in events, Wagner-Pacifici argues, are identities, loyalties, social relationships, and our very experiences of time and space. What Is an Event? provides a way for us all—as social and political beings living through events, and as analysts reflecting upon them—to better understand what is at stake in the formations and flows of the events that mark and shape our lives.

Robin Wagner-Pacifici is the University in Exile Professor of Sociology at the New School for Social Research. She is the author of a number of books, most recently What is an Event? (University of Chicago Press, 2017) and The Art of Surrender: Decomposing Sovereignty at Conflict’s End.

Bruce Grant is Professor of Anthropology at New York University whose areas of research and interests include the Former Soviet Union, Siberia, the Caucasus, cultural history and politics, and religion. He is also the Chair of the National Council for East European and Eurasian Research.

Iddo Tavory is Assistant Professor of Sociology at New York University, and author of Summoned: Identification and Religious Life in a Jewish Neighborhood. In 2016 Tavory won the Lewis A. Coser Award for Theoretical Agenda-Setting from the ASA Theory Section.

Join Our Mailing List