Ideas

Explore firsthand accounts of research and questions posed by IAS scientists and scholars. From art history to string theory, from moral anthropology to the long-term fate of the universe, contributions span the last decade to the research of today.

Book cover for "Black Metaphors" by Cord J. Whitaker

In the late Middle Ages, Christian conversion could wash a black person’s skin white—or at least that is what happens when a black sultan converts to Christianity in the late thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century English romance the King of...

In 2019–20, Cord J. Whitaker, Member in the School of Historical Studies and Associate Professor at Wellesley College, is interested in the history and development of race...

Portrait of Karina Urbach

Karina Urbach, Visitor in the School of Historical Studies since 2015, is a German historian with a special interest in the Nazi period (1933–45). She has written several books on nineteenth- and twentieth-...

Book cover for "Muslim Perceptions"

Sabine Schmidtke, Professor in the School of Historical Studies, has coauthored, with Camilla Adang, Muslim Perceptions and Receptions of the Bible: Texts and Studies (Lockwood Press, 2019).

The...

In How We Read: Tales, Fury, Nothing, Sound (Punctum Books, 2019), a new book coedited by Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Professor in the School of Historical Studies, contributors explore reading as a passive,...

On the occasion of the spring meeting of the IAS Board of Trustees in May 2019, Sabine Schmidtke, Professor in the School of Historical Studies, speaks on the vast, global, and indispensable Islamic manuscript...

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In 327–326 B.C.E., Alexander the Great, after having defeated the Persian King and conquered the Persian Empire, crossed eastern Iran, Afghanistan, and Bactria, testing the limits of his abilities. He attacked the fortress of Aornos, on Mount Pir...

On April 26, the Institute celebrated the life and work of Irving Lavin with an all-day event that began with a series of scholarly discussions in the morning, followed in the afternoon by personal remembrances....

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On April 4, 2019, Stephen Kotkin, John P. Birkelund '52 Professor in History and International Affairs at Princeton University, gave a public lecture on "Stalin at War."

Jonathan Haslam, George F. Kennan...

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By Projit Bihari Mukharji

On April 2, 2019, Projit Bihari Mukharji, Associate Professor of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, gave a public lecture titled "Race by Numbers: Statistics and Race in Inter-War British India" as part of the...

Ideas

“We feel strongly that the spirit characteristic of America at its noblest, above all the pursuit of higher learning, cannot admit of any conditions as to personnel other than those designed to promote the objects for which this institution is established, and particularly with no regard whatever to accidents of race, creed, or sex.”

Historical Studies

Cord Whitaker

A conversation on the current racial unrest, its place in the history of racism, and where we go from here

On February 13, 1960, students line the counter of a dime store in Greensboro, North Carolina, in protest of the store’s refusal to serve them.

By Michael Walzer

Every political activist who has fought for a good cause dreams of a chance to fight again. We live, right now, in a bad time; American politics has not been this ugly since the Joe McCarthy years or the Red Scare and anti-immigrant frenzy of the early 1920s. We need movements of resistance, and we need citizen activists who remember the old labor union imperative: Organize!

By George Dyson

In 1916, social theorist Thorstein Veblen called for the post-war institution of “academic houses of refuge . . . where teachers and students of all nationalities, including Americans with the rest, may pursue their chosen work.” 

Social Science

By Ruha Benjamin

Like everyone who lives in a heavily policed neighborhood, I grew up with a keen sense of being watched. Family, friends, and neighbors—all of us caught up in a carceral web, in which other people’s safety and freedom are predicated on our containment.

Historical Studies

By Monica H. Green

The Institute is a remarkably modest place. Like all Members, I was provided a lovely apartment, a simple office (with computer), access to libraries, lunch in the dining hall, tea in the afternoon. So how does new knowledge come out of such a simple mix? 

By Joan Wallach Scott

Some of the reasons usually offered to explain the persistence of gender inequality include large abstractions: patriarchy, capitalism, male self-interest, misogyny, religion. These are, of course, useful categories to work with, but none of them can account for how deep-rooted these inequalities are in our psyches, our cultures, and our politics. 

Mathematics

By Richard Taylor

One of the oldest subjects in mathematics is the study of Diophantine equations, i.e., the study of whole number (or fractional) solutions to polynomial equations. 

Natural Sciences

By Edward Witten

Much of the theory of knots is best understood in the framework of 20th- and 21st-century developments in quantum physics. In other words, what really fascinates me are not the knots per se but the connections between the knots and quantum physics.

Ideas

Robbert Dijkgraaf

Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director and Leon Levy Professor of the Institute for Advanced Study, and Joanne Lipman, IAS’s Peretsman Scully Distinguished Journalism Fellow discuss the coronavirus epidemic, its impact on IAS, and the elevated role of science in society.

Historical Studies

"Plague in an Ancient City" by Michael Sweerts

Is history repeating itself? Angelos Chaniotis, Professor of Ancient History and Classics in the School of Historical Studies, talks with Joanne Lipman, IAS Distinguished Journalism Fellow, about the parallels between ancient plagues and today’s Covid pandemic.

Artist's representation of COVID-19

Professor Emeritus Arnold J. Levine spoke with IAS's Joanne Lipman about the novel coronavirus outbreak, how it compares to previous pandemics, and potential therapies in the works that may help stop the spread.