Social Science

"The halls of academia may appear to be overrun by battles over academic freedom, free speech, identity politics, cancel culture and overreaching wokeness. But why does it look that way? And what are the real causes? The influential political theorist Wendy Brown has spent her career studying the very ideas — those of identity, freedom and tolerance — that are central to current debates about what’s happening on college campuses across the country, as well as to the attacks they’re undergoing from within and without."

By Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science:

The French president’s first term, with his neoliberal and authoritarian policies, has situated him on the right of the political spectrum rather than in the center as he had announced prior to being elected. But his shift has progressively gone even further with the decision to put immigration control and hardline secularism on the agenda.

"Published in 2015, Wendy Brown’Undoing the Demos was a major theoretical contribution to the study of neoliberalism. Since then, the neoliberal order has been rocked by a series of crises: among them the rise of right-wing, authoritarian regimes across the world; rapidly intensifying ecological devastation; and the COVID-19 pandemic that is now entering its third year."

"The Ogallala aquifer, one of the earth’s largest, extends from South Dakota to Texas and, today, supports one-sixth of the world’s grain production, even as it is quickly being drained to the point of collapse. Lucas Bessire’s Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains, which was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award, is a story about the politics and livelihoods that have sustained this extraction."