Monday, November 30

The Threats and Opportunity of Sustaining a Free Press in the Age of Technology

Richard C. Holbrooke Lecture 

The worst regimes in history have been very good at controlling information and eliminating anyone who challenges official messaging or the state’s authority. Journalism, as it evolved over the last few centuries, observes Robert J. Rosenthal, has long been on the frontline of challenging authority. At times journalists were eliminated; at other times their roles were crucial in keeping their societies informed and in holding power accountable. But in the age of the mobile phone, anyone can be a publisher. »

Thursday, December 03

Capitalism, Temporality, and the Crisis of Labor

Ellen Maria Gorrissen Lecture 

The ongoing financial crisis, argues historian Moishe Postone, has laid bare the contradictory and shaky character of contemporary capitalism. Yet the essentially inchoate responses to the crisis have dramatically revealed the absence of a robust conceptualization of post-capitalist society and, by implication, of a robust critique of capital itself. One result has been the continued hegemony of neoliberal discourses and policies, Postone argues, and he seeks to fundamentally rethink the core categories of Marx’s critique of political economy. »

Tuesday, December 08

Nature and Culture in the Kamasutra

American Academy Lecture 

The Kamasutra, composed in the third century CE, is the world’s most famous textbook of erotic love. For its time, it was astonishingly sophisticated and, even today, there is nothing like it. Yet it is all but ignored as a serious work in its country of origin—sometimes taken as a matter of national shame rather than pride—and in the rest of the world it is a source of amused amazement, inspiring magazine articles that offer "mattress-quaking sex styles" such as "the backstairs boogie" and "the spider web." »