Welcome to the Institute for Critical Social Inquiry (ICSI) at The New School for Social Research. Now celebrating its sixth year, the Institute is designed to provide scholars with the opportunity to spend a week at the New School’s campus in Greenwich Village, working closely with some of the most distinguished thinkers shaping the course of contemporary social inquiry. The Institute is founded on the premise that responding to current and emergent problems requires developing our collective capacities to formulate new and better questions, rather than relying on the application of all too familiar ready-made theories. In the current landscape in which most of us work today, there is seldom the time or the opportunity for in-depth exploration of those modes of inquiry most relevant to our research agendas and developing projects. How often have we all wished we could steal the time from our current writing and teaching obligations to return to a thinker whose style of thinking and whose conceptual insights shaped us at earlier moments and would mean as much or more to know better today? Our themes are mobile and responsive, joining conceptual labor with pressing political concerns in our times, in an effort to understand and act upon better that which is emergent on our collective horizons.

The Institute offers a unique and intensive opportunity for Fellows to pursue this charge in one of the three week-long seminars designed to cultivate styles of thinking and conceptual vocabularies that address the disparate sites and unequal conditions in which we live. In the spirit of encouraging a diverse set of attendees from around the world, reduced tuition is available for participants whose universities are not able to provide funds for travel abroad. I particularly encourage students from the Global South to take advantage of this possibility.

It is with great pleasure that I announce this coming year’s Summer Seminars and the extraordinary Faculty we shall have with us in 2020:

NOAM CHOMSKY (University of Arizona/MIT)
Teetering on the Brink: Will Civilization Long Survive?"

SASKIA SASSEN (Columbia University)
Expulsions: The Rise of Extractive Logics in Our Economies and Societies"

EYAL WEIZMAN (Goldsmiths, University of London) 

Each of these scholars will teach a week-long Master Class on a foundational thinker or topic of contemporary concern. By “Master Class” we intend to signal that the seminars are hands-on and intensive, consisting of lecture, concentrated reading of key texts, and ongoing exchange. In each seminar, the three-hour morning sessions are devoted to critical reflection on and discussions around the seminar’s topical focus with readings provided in advance. The afternoon workshops, organized by the Fellows themselves, are devoted to presentations of and critical exchanges around each Fellow's current research or extended readings from the morning’s discussions. On Saturday, the entire cohort of Fellows meet jointly for an Open Forum, where the Faculty and Fellows discuss our diverse visions of what “critique” and “disobedience” require today, themes that cut across the seminars' common concerns and current events and help shape the design of ICSI.

I invite you all to review the rest of our website on which you can find descriptions of the seminars, and information about tuition, housing, and scholarships. You can also explore the profiles of the 2019, 20182017, 2016, and 2015 Fellows and Faculty. To keep up to date with the ICSI's activities, please make sure to join our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

I encourage you to take advantage of this unique intellectual opportunity and to contact the Program Assistant, Jennifer Roy, with any questions you may have. I look forward to welcoming you in person in June at our opening reception. As always, I shall be present and actively engaged with fellows and faculty every day throughout the week. I will attend seminars, hold an open coffee hour one afternoon, and be available to arrange informal meetings with groups of attendees and contacts with other scholars in the area. In brief, I will be doing everything I can to make this experience a formative and inspiring one for all. 

Ann Laura Stoler
Founding Director, Institute for Critical Social Inquiry (ICSI)
Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor
of Anthropology and Historical Studies
The New School for Social Research

Application Information


June 7 - 13, 2020


Advanced doctoral students and faculty in the humanities and social sciences at any institution are invited to apply to participate as Fellows in one of the three seminars (applicants may only select ONE seminar).

There are 60 available seats (20 per seminar).

Successful applications will be those that demonstrate a compelling rationale for joining the particular seminar for which the candidate is applying, significant intellectual preparation, and a commitment to critical and creative thought in a collaborative environment. 

If you have previously been a Fellow at ICSI, you are eligible to apply again.


Tuition includes the weeklong seminar (including 5 Master Classes and 5 Workshops), one public lecture by each of the three faculty, one communal lunch, and the opening and closing receptions. Tuition does NOT cover travel, housing, or food. Tuition fees for all Fellows are below-cost, thanks to funding from the New School's Board of Trustees and private gifts. Tuition fees are as follows:

Full Tuition
PhD students/candidates, postdoctoral scholars, and contingent faculty: $900
Junior faculty (tenure-track): $1,100
Tenured faculty: $1,500

Reduced Tuition*
Students and faculty: $400

Tuition for New School PhD students/faculty
Accepted students and faculty from the New School attend tuition-free

*Priority for reduced-tuition scholarships will be given to applicants from the Global South (Latin America, Asia, Africa, and parts of the Middle East), though in some cases we may consider scholars at institutions in Southern and Eastern Europe, and in very rare cases, scholars at resource-poor institutions in the United States and Canada. Please make sure you fully answer all questions regarding funding in the application below to help us determine your eligibility for scholarships.


All applicants who reside more than 125 miles from New York City will be considered for travel/housing stipends of either $200 or $1,000 to defray the cost of traveling to New York City. In most cases, awards of $200 are given to Fellows coming from the Global North and awards of $1,000 are given to Fellows coming from the Global South, but we review each candidate based on their specific circumstances. If awarded a stipend, Fellows will receive checks upon arrival.


All participants have the option to be housed in a New School Residence (either the 13th Street Residence or Kerrey Hall). With easy access to the ICSI seminars, shared double-rooms as well as a limited number of private rooms are available. 

The estimated cost for a shared room from June 6-14, 2020 is $550 (these dates allow Fellows to arrive one day before and leave one day after the Seminars, if desired). If you would like a private room, the estimated cost is $635. Links to register for housing will be emailed once accepted Fellows have paid tuition in full.


The online application for the 2020 ICSI Summer Seminar will be available in early September. Applications are due before midnight Eastern Standard Time on December 15, 2019. Applicants will be notified with admissions decisions by February 15th, 2020. If accepted, a $100 deposit is due by March 1, 2020, with the balance due by April 1, 2020.

You cannot save your application during the submission process, so you should have final versions of your statement of purpose and your CV ready to submit as PDFs before you begin the application.

Applications will only be reviewed if ALL of the following steps are completed:

1. Complete the Application Form.
2. When prompted in the application, attach a statement of purpose that clearly and persuasively outlines your current research project, your training and preparation, and how you will benefit from the particular Master Class you wish to attend as well as the ICSI as a whole (no more than 2 double-spaced pages).
3. When prompted in the application, attach a current CV (no more than 2 double-spaced pages).

Statements and CVs MUST be uploaded as Adobe PDF files.