12 Ways The New School Community Is Responding to the U.S. Election
Originally published on New_S, The New School News Blog.
The New School has a tradition of responding in real time to urgent moments in history. In 1964, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, The New School convened the American Race Crisis Lecture Series. It featured renowned figures — including none other than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — in critical discussions on the impact of school integration, housing discrimination, affirmative action, and more.
Today The New School is reasserting this tradition with Post-Election America. In this free series of courses, quickly organized in the wake of President Donald J. Trump, leading academics provide the history, institutional context, data, and analysis to help members of the university community parse the stunning changes expected to unfold in the American political landscape.
Post-Election America is one of the many ways the New School community is responding to the U.S. election and its aftermath. From workshops and panel discussions to exhibitions and even exercise classes, the university is getting engaged — in real time — through action and inquiry.
Community Members Take Crash Courses on Political Issues
In Post-Election America, a weekly, daytime series of free public courses, an all-star cast of New School faculty members arm audience members with the knowledge they need to parse pressing political, social, economic, and environmental issues that have emerged in our post-election environment. Faculty members dive into a range of topics, from immigration law to climate change to populist movements. Fridays, 10:30 am–12:00 noon, 66 West 12th Street, room 407.
Al Sharpton Takes to the Pulpit
The New School is getting a visit from a civil rights leader at just the right time. None other than the Rev. Al Sharpton will discuss key issues impacting civil rights, social justice, and criminal justice reform in New York City and nationally. Maya Wiley, senior vice president and Henry Cohen Professor at the New School, hosts the event, which is part of the Henry Cohen Lecture Series. This year, the series will examine how to advance political, social and economic inclusion in the context of a Trump Presidency. Tuesday, February 28, 6:30–8 p.m. Tishman Auditorium, 63 Fifth Avenue.
“All I have is a voice to undo the folded lie,” wrote poet Wystan Hugh Auden in “September 1, 1939.” In the spirit of Auden’s declaration, members of the Parsons community have founded RESIST art club, an ad hoc team of students and faculty members who get together to generate new imagery based on current news, ideas, and issues. Their rallying cry: “We’re pissed. Time to #RESIST.” For more information, contact assistant professor of design and technology Jess Irish, the group’s organizer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scholars Study Migration and Mobility
The Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School for Social Research was founded in 2014, at a critical juncture in the massive movement of people across borders and around the world. Today, in the midst of an intense debate surrounding the country’s immigration and refugee policies, its mission has become more relevant than ever. Alex Aleinikoff, a former deputy high commissioner at the UN Refugee Agency who now serves as the director of the Zolberg Institute, has been a leading voice in that debate, writing and speaking to the media about President Trump’s since-blocked executive order barring people from seven Muslim-majority nations. The Zolberg Institute will host several events this semester, including Conceptualising ‘Contemporaneous Migration’ Through China’s Global Connections on April 10 and Exiled Home: Salvadoran Transnational Youth in the Aftermath of Violence on April 19.
Writers Confront Pressing Issues in Public Seminar
At a time when journalism has devolved into the “post-factual,” the need for deeply informed academic critique is crucial. Public Seminar — an online publication featuring authors who “confront fundamental problems of the human condition and pressing issues of the day” — is a commons for such critique. Published by NSSR, it features essays and reviews by leading academics, including faculty members from The New School, focusing on topics ranging from sanctuary campuses to labor inequality to issues surrounding the 2016 election and the presidency of Donald J. Trump. The site continues to grow, racking up one million page views and counting since its 2016 launch.
Scholars Ask What the Rest of the World Thinks
The 2016 presidential election provoked wide-ranging reactions from Americans. But what does the rest of the world think? For the 11th event in its Public Voices series, The Center for Public Scholarship hosts Their America: The U.S. in the Eyes of the Rest of the World Post-Election, a panel discussion bringing together experts on China, Israel and Palestine, Latin America, the Middle East, and Russia to discuss the ways in which political and social perceptions of America are changing as a result of the Trump administration. Panelists will examine the effects of the United States’ changing political identity and what may be in store not only for Americans, but for the entire world. Friday, April 7, 4:00–8:00 p.m., Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, room I202.
Lang College Coalition Speaks Up
When Lang students returned from Thanksgiving break last year, they encountered “multiple posters, the American flag, LGBTQ flag, trans rights flag, women’s liberation flag, the Black Lives Matter poster, and a photo of a kitten posted in windows of faculty offices, the cafe, classrooms, stairwells, and hallways,” the New School Free Press reported in November. The flags were a response to various events: the results of the 2016 election, political arguments with families, and swastikas’ being drawn on a dorm room in Kerrey Hall. The posters were put up by the Lang College Coalition, a group of faculty and students who, as the NSFP reports, “want to take action to support the values of women’s liberation, LGBTQ and trans rights, and black lives.”
Exhibition Offers Close-Up of the Migrant Experience
Inside the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center’s Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery stands a massive wall made up of dozens of backpacks. Discarded by unauthorized border crossers along the United States–Mexico border, the backpacks force viewers to consider the experience of thousands of people fleeing dire poverty, drug cartel violence, and political instability. The installation is on view as part of State of Exception, an exhibition featuring objects, including clothing and ephemera, left behind by migrants crossing the Arizona desert, and video and images created by Richard Barnes along the Mexico–United States border. “In the aftermath of a presidential campaign that fed off anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric,” the curators state, “it is absolutely critical to look deeper into the migrant experience.” On view at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center’s Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, 2 West 13th Street, The New School.
Writers Explore ‘What Will Change’
In What Will Change, an ongoing blog series, faculty members at the Tishman Environment and Design Center reflect on the potential environmental and social justice impacts of the Trump administration’s environmental policy proposals. In “Environmental Justice in a Time of Despair,” Ana Baptista, assistant professor of environmental policy and sustainability management, writes, “Environmental justice has never been an easy task to undertake under any political party. The existence of sacrifice zones where people of color and low-income communities live with the disproportionate burden of pollution is a by-product of an economic and political system that benefits from the disenfranchisement and exploitation of vulnerable people and natural resources.”
The University Community Exercises Its Power
We often think of wellness and self-care as forms of escape from the outside world. But according to Natalia Petrzela, they can be means of powerfully equipping ourselves to engage with the very challenges — an unexpectedly charged political moment, for example — from which we tend to shy away. In January, the New School history professor hosted Exercise Your Power, a series of workshops that paired an inspiring intenSati class, a mind-body workout involving empowering declarations (“We are powerful!” and “We are united!”) with a space to engage in political discourse.
Students Voice Dissent
Following the 2016 U.S. election, students took to Fifth Avenue to exercise their Constitutionally protected right to organize and dissent. Following the inauguration, they came out for numerous demonstrations, including the Women’s March, which drew hundreds of thousands of people to New York City, Washington, D.C., and cities throughout the country. Many took pride in the action of, Vanessa Wruble, MA Psychology ’08, who helped organize the marches.
Studying Post-Election Issues in Classrooms
In the wake of the election, many students have taken action outside the classroom. But it is inside classrooms — places of rigorous debate and open inquiry — where the seeds of that action take root. In numerous classes — Post-Election America, From Reagan to Obama, Forced Migration, Economics of Climate Change, Capitalism vs. Nature, America’s Empires, Citizenship, Donald Trump as History, The Politics of Walking, Rigged: How Incumbents Steal Elections, Nationalism in Global History, Organizing for Freedom: Community Mobilizing Through Art and Education, Philosophy and the Media: Inside the New York Times, Muslims and Islam in the U.S., and The Politics of the Internet, among others — students are acquiring the knowledge to tackle pressing issues in our post-election environment.