Program Archives

Mon 1.07.13 | Graeber on Money, Honor, Debt, and Freedom

David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years Melville House, 2012 (paper)





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Has money always been used for buying things? Were debt crises in the ancient world addressed in the same way they are now? What does honor and patriarchy have to do with debt? And what should we know about the origins of our cherished modern conceptions of liberty and property? David Graeber considers the tumultuous present in light of the past.

Wed 1.02.13 | Fear, Risk, and Breast Cancer

Robert A. Aronowitz, Unnatural History: Breast Cancer and American Society Cambridge U. Press, 2007




Breast cancer may be the most feared disease that women face: one out of every eight women is expected to get the illness in her lifetime. But how much of that fear is produced not by biology but society? Historian and medical doctor Robert Aronowitz has written a social history of breast cancer from the 19th century to the present. He argues that overzealous screening -- detecting cells that would never advance into full-blown cancer -- has fueled a sense of risk that serves neither patients nor the medical understanding of the disease.

Tues 1.01.13 | Finance Capitalism

We are now in an era of global finance capitalism, says Richard Peet. But what does this mean? What's the relationship between finance capitalism and neoliberalism? Does finance capital exploit differently than industrial capital? And what are finance capitalism's main features and contradictions? Richard Peet explains how we got to this point; he also describes the perils of the current political-economic moment. (Encore presentation.)

Mon 12.31.12 | Victor Serge: Conscience of a Revolution

Victor Serge, Memoirs of a Revolutionary NYRB, 2012 

Richard Greeman, Beware of Vegetarian Sharks Lulu, 2009



Victor Serge lived a remarkable life in the cause of revolution. Translator and biographer Richard Greeman reflects upon the journalist, novelist, and poet's anarchist youth in France with the Bonnot Gang, his involvement in the Bolshevik Revolution, his imprisonment in Stalin's gulag, and his enduring dissident or libertarian Marxism during some of the darkest days of the 20th century. He discusses Serge's belief in the double duty of the revolutionary: to protect the revolution from threats from without, and to defend it from authoritarianism within.

Wed 12.26.12 | Blaming Other Cultures

Those strange people's culture is to blame, we're told, when wife-battering or other interpersonal violence occurs in the households of immigrants from certain parts of the world. But does culture determine violent or misogynist behavior? And are non-Western cultures in fact regressive, as they're so often represented to be? Leti Volpp talks about double standards and the perilous politics of culture.

Tues 12.25.12 | Education and Inequality

It seems logical: if you don't have enough education your economic prospects will be diminished, while those who have a lot are able to succeed in our purportedly knowledge-based economy.  But what if that's only partially accurate? John Marsh posits that economic inequality and poverty are not causally connected to differing levels of education. He argues that we need to reject the appealing notion of education as a cure-all and look deeper at class power and structural inequality.

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