People 2016

Founding Director

Ann Laura Stoler is Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research. She taught at the University of Michigan from 1989-2003 and has been at the New School for Social Research since 2004, where she was the founding chair of its revitalized Anthropology Department. She has worked for some thirty years on the politics of knowledge, colonial governance, racial epistemologies, the sexual politics of empire, and ethnography of the archives. She has been a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études, the École Normale Supérieure and Paris 8, Cornell University’s School of Criticism and Theory, Birzeit University in Ramallah,  the Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism, Irvine’s School of Arts and Literature, and the Bard Prison Initiative. She is the recipient of NEH, Guggenheim, NSF, SSRC, and Fulbright awards, among others. Recent interviews with her are available at Savage MindsLe Monde, and Public Culture, as well as Pacifica Radio and here. Her books include Capitalism and Confrontation in Sumatra’s Plantation Belt, 1870–1979 (1985; 1995) Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (1995), Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule (2002, 2010), Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense (2009) and the edited volumes Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (with Frederick Cooper, 1997), Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History (2006), Imperial Formations (with Carole McGranahan and Peter Perdue, 2007) and Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination (2013). Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times is forthcoming from Duke University Press. Her commitment to joining conceptual and historical research has lead to collaborative work with historians, literary scholars and philosophers, and most recently in the creation of the journal Political Concepts: A Critical Lexicon, of which she is one of the founding editors.


Charles A. McDonald is a doctoral candidate in anthropology and history at the New School for Social Research. His dissertation is a historical ethnography of the return of Jews and Judaism to Spain from the nineteenth century to the present, focusing on religious conversion and citizenship laws. Taking "return" as an ethnographic object, the dissertation inquires into the forms of reason, technologies, and materials that are enlisted to determine the inheritability and convertability of Jewishness. It thus seeks to gain a new perspective on the vexed conditions of European multiculturalism by developing a pragmatic anthropology of what "inclusion" entails at a time when the production of the Jewish past and the possibility of a Jewish future is increasingly part of statecraft in countries at Europe’s periphery, like Spain, Portugal, and Poland. His work has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Center for Jewish History. He is currently a Visiting Researcher at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, as well as at the Institute for Language, Literature, and Anthropology at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC). His broader interests include race and religion; subjectivity; historical anthropology; materiality and aesthetics; liberalism and multiculturalism; queer studies; experimental ethnography; Spain; Europe; U.S.

program assistant

Valentina Ramia is an MA candidate in anthropology at the New School for Social Research, where she has been granted a five-year Prize Fellowship. After graduating with an MS in Public Policy from The New School, she worked for the Ecuadorian government to create the Department of Justice and the country’s first Public Defense System. Her research focuses on the politics of emotion in asylum proceedings. She is also a classically trained pianist.


2016 Faculty

Jay M. Bernstein is University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research.  He previously taught at the University of Essex for nearly 25 years, where, among other efforts, he served as Dean of Humanities; he was W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University before moving to the New School. He works primarily in the areas of ethics, philosophy of law, critical theory, aesthetics and the philosophy of art, and German Idealism from Kant to Hegel.  Among his books are: The Philosophy of the Novel (Minneapolis, 1984); The Fate of Art: Aesthetic Alienation from Kant to Derrida and Adorno (Oxford, 1992); Recovering Ethical Life (1995); Adorno: Disenchantment and Ethics (New York, 2001); Against Voluptuous Bodies: Late Modernism and the Meaning of Painting (Stanford, 2006); he edited and wrote the introduction for Classic and Romantic German Aesthetics (New York, 2003). His next book, Torture and Dignity: An Essay on Moral Injury, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press. Professor Bernstein's 2016 seminar is Of Masters and Slaves: Reading Hegel's Phenomenology.

Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley. She served as Founding Director of the Critical Theory Program. She is the author of Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France (1987); Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990); Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (1993); The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection (1997); Excitable Speech (1997); Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (2000); Precarious Life: Powers of Violence and Mourning (2004); Undoing Gender (2004); Who Sings the Nation-State?: Language, Politics, Belonging (with Gayatri Spivak in 2008); Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? (2009); Is Critique Secular? (co-written with Talal Asad, Wendy Brown, and Saba Mahmood, 2009); and Sois Mon Corps (2011), co-authored with Catherine Malabou. Her most recent books include: Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (2012); Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (co-authored with Athena Athanasiou, 2013); and Senses of the Subject (2015). Her book, Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, will appear in 2015.  Her future projects include work on Kafka and Benjamin, philosophical fictions in Freud’s work, and gender in translation. She is also active in gender and sexual politics and human rights, anti-war politics, and serves on the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace. She was the recipient of the Andrew Mellon Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in the Humanities (2009-13).  She is as well the past recipient of several fellowships including Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Ford, American Council of Learned Societies, and was Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and at the College des Hautes Etudes in Paris. Professor Butler's 2016 seminar is Freud to Klein: Death Drive, Pleasure, Ethics.


Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is University Professor and Founder of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. She was educated at the University of Calcutta, and came to Cornell University in 1961 to finish doctoral work. Her books are Myself Must I Remake (1974); In Other Worlds (1987); The Post-Colonial Critic (1988); Outside in the Teaching Machine (1993); A Critique of Postcolonial Reason (1999); Death of a Discipline (2003); Other Asias (2008); An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization (2012); and Readings (2014). She has translated Jacques Derrida's Of Grammatology (1976) and Mahasweta Devi's Imaginary Maps (1994), Breast Stories (1997), Old Women (1999), and Chotti Munda and his Arrow (2002). She has received honorary doctorates from the Universities Toronto, London, Rovira I Virgili, Rabindra Bharati, San Martín, St. Andrews, Vincennes à Saint-Denis, Yale, Ghana-Legon, Presidency University, and Oberlin College. She is active in the International Women's Movement, the struggle for ecological justice, and rural education.  Her influence has been felt in Art and Architecture, Law and Political Science, and in curatorial practices. She works for Humanities education as the best lasting weapon to combat contemporary disaster. Professor Spivak's 2016 seminar is Why Marx Today?


Spivak Seminar - Why Marx Today?