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November 2019

Critical Mass Talk: Ady Barkan: Love and Death, Hope and Resistance
Ady Barkan

November 21, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Sitting in that hotel armchair, I realized that my deadly disease was giving me newfound power at the very moment it was depriving me of so much strength. My voice was growing softer, but I was being heard by more people than ever before. My legs were disintegrating, but more and more people were following in my footsteps. Precisely because my days were numbered, people drew inspiration from my decision to spend them in resistance. Precisely because I faced such obstacles, my comrades were moved by my message that struggle is never futile. In this talk, the paralyzed political activist Ady Barkan will explore the existential questions that he has faced in the wake of his terminal diagnosis with ALS, and that the American people have faced under the Trump administration: What kind of life will our children have, and…

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December 2019

Humanities Decanted: Borges, Buddhism and World Literature: A Morphology of Renunciation Tales
Dominique Jullien

December 5, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Join us for a dialogue between Dominique Jullien (French and Comparative Literature) and Sowon Park (English) about Jullien’s new book, Borges, Buddhism and World Literature: A Morphology of Renunciation Tales. Refreshments will be served. Jullien’s latest book follows the renunciation story in Borges and beyond, arguing for its centrality as a Borgesian compositional trope and as a Borgesian prism for reading a global constellation of texts. The renunciation story at the heart of Buddhism, that of a king who leaves his palace to become an ascetic, fascinated Borges because of its cross-cultural adaptability and metamorphic nature, and because it resonated so powerfully across philosophy, politics and aesthetics. From the story and its many variants, Borges’s essays formulated a 'morphological' conception of literature (borrowing the idea from Goethe), whereby a potentially infinite number of stories were generated by transformation of a…

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May 2020

Critical Mass Talk: Struggling to Save America’s Cities in the Suburban Age: Urban Renewal Revisited
Lizabeth Cohen

May 7, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Urban Renewal of the 1950s through 1970s has acquired a very poor reputation, much of it deserved. But reducing it to an unchanging story of urban destruction misses some important legacies and genuinely progressive goals. Those include efforts to create more socially mixed communities, to involve suburbs—not just cities--in solving metropolitan inequality, and most importantly, to hold the federal government responsible for funding more affordable housing and other urban investments, rather than turn to the private sector. Cohen will revisit this history by following the long career of Edward J. Logue, who worked to revitalize New Haven in the 1950s, became the architect of the “New Boston” in the 1960s, and later led innovative organizations in New York at the state level and in the South Bronx. She will analyze the evolution in Logue’s thinking and actions, when and how…

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