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 "A Time for Critique"

Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, and Bernard E. Harcourt, Visiting Professor (2016–17) in the School, have edited A Time...

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Conventional wisdom today says that the sciences—natural, physical, and even the quantitative social sciences like economics—are especially good for teaching effective truth practices. That is surely right to a degree. But just as much, we might...

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On November 22, five days into the gilets jaunes protests, with some 2,000 roads and roundabouts barricaded across the country and 280,000 demonstrators having taken to the streets in the major cities, Emmanuel Macron welcomed journalists...

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Joan Wallach Scott, Professor Emerita in the School of Social Science, has authored Knowledge, Power, and Academic Freedom (Columbia University Press, 2019).

The book presents essays that explore the...

Angelus Novus was painted by Paul Klee in 1920 using an oil transfer technique he had invented. It was purchased the following year by Walter Benjamin, who had it hung in the successive places where he lived and found in it an...

On April 5th, 1841, a young woman stood beneath an elm tree in far western Illinois. This was Louisa Beaman, twenty-six, and at this point in her life an orphan. Her father had died in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1837; her mother, only a few months before...

The five versions of the same volume presented here in French, English, German, Italian, and Spanish, could serve as a pretext for a reflection on the work of translation—not only of words, but also of ideas, contexts, and images.

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This article is a slightly edited excerpt of the lecture given on the occasion of the awarding of the Edgar di Picciotto International Prize of the Graduate Institute of Geneva to Joan Wallach Scott, Professor Emerita in the...

"Life is a term, none more familiar. And one almost would take it for an affront, to be asked what he meant by it," writes John Locke. But he immediately adds: "And yet, if it comes in question, whether a plant, that lies ready formed in the seed...

#MeToo has been such a big catalyst for what looks every day more like the emergence of a new feminist movement, because it speaks to women across the class, race, and sexuality divides. The movement points to the fact that sexual harassment and...

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.