In this presentation of her memoir at the American Academy as a Lloyd Cutler Distinguished Visitor, the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor talked about her journey from social housing in the Bronx to the bench of the United States Supreme Court. My Beloved World, Sotomayor's just-released biography, recounts how the US Supreme Court judge, faced with with an exceedingly precarious childhood, determined early on that she only had herself to depend upon—and then imagined a path to a different life. She pursued a dream that would sustain and elevate her from valedictorian of her high school class to an appointment on a federal district court before the age of forty. Her moving biography and talk not only details her struggle and determination—it also expands the spectrum of America’s infinite possibilities.
New Yorker staff writer and spring 2014 fellow George Packer reads from his National Book Award-winning account of American change over the last fifty years, The Unwinding. The book deftly interweaves the stories of everyday, working Americans, social history, economic statistics, and biographical sketches of some of today's leading public figures, including Newt Gingrich, Oprah Winfrey, and Jay-Z, in order to paint -- as this lecture outlines -- a troubling picture of an America that has become increasingly emptied of its middle class and ever more obsessed with an unobtainable celebrity lifestyle.
George Rupp, former president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, examines the tension between traditional religious conviction and modern secular individualism. Rupp claims that despite the aspiration of secular liberals to keep the passions of religious devotees out of the public realm, there is evidence all over the world that this stance is not a viable option. He argues that the global challenge is instead to find a way for passionate conviction not to preclude inclusive communities.
In this public talk, acclaimed art critics Roberta Smith, the co-chief art critic at the New York Times, and Isabelle Graw, founding editor or Texte zur Kunst and a professor of art theory and art history at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, discuss the ways in which the rise of the internet and the subsequent expansion of online forms of art criticism, such as blogging and tweeting, have changed art criticism in the past decade. They also discuss their own experiences writing “print criticism,” and the expansion of the art world and the kinds of art being produced.
In this lecture, Jane Holl Lute, former deputy secretary for the US Department of Homeland Security, examines the social effects of global technological connectivity and ask what it means to speak today of personal privacy or personally identifiable information. This includes defining the political implications of the “cyber awakening” at the key intersection of technology, power, and wealth, and how nation-states, international institutions, and major multinational corporations are coping with these developments. Drawing on her experience in international, national, and homeland security, Lute offers a policy perspective on security in the cyber age.