The Disciplines Series: Evaluation, Value, and Evidence

  • Ron Suskind, journalist and author

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind tells stories that bind his first bestseller, A Hope in the Unseen, to his latest one, Life, Animated, a startling portrait of his son's 20-year battle with autism. The two books, fifteen years apart, are tough-minded, densely-reported works that accord dignity to society's outcasts, showing how they can rise to meet their fullest promise. Mr. Suskind will describe how both books harnessed narrative to drive social change.

As part of the Disciplines Series: Evaluation, Value, and Evidence, authors Alison Piepmeier, George Estreich, and Rachel Adams take up many of the questions raised in our November 2013 event on "Genes, Children, and Ethics" (featuring Michael Berube, Faye Ginsberg, and Rayna Rapp) in their discussion of "Parenting, Narrative, and Our Genetic Futures." Elizabeth Emens chairs.  

Genes, Children, and Ethics

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rayna Rapp, Professor of Anthropology at New York University, and Faye Ginsberg, David B. Kriser Professor of Anthropology at New York University, will present a talk titled, "Screening Disabilities: Visual Fields, Public Culture and the Atypical Mind in the 21st Century." The talk will be based on their work together on cultural innovation in special education in New York City and their work on brain research about learning, memory, childhood psychiatric diagnoses, and epigenetics. Kinship relations also lie at the heart of their project, and they are interviewing families across a wide array of social locations who have had the experience of having a child diagnosed with special educational categories and services. Michael Bérubé's talk as part of this event will focus on "Genotypes, Phenotypes, and Stereotypes," and the variability of "expression" in Down syndrome.

Value: Social and Ecological

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jonathan Schell, the author of the pioneering work "The Fate of the Earth," has turned his gaze recently on the urgencies of climate change today. He will be joined by James Tully, a political theorist and intellectual historian of the Cambridge school. To listen to an audio recording of this event please click here.

Medicine, the Humanities, and the Human Sciences —a two-day conference

Friday, April 12, 2013 - Saturday, April 13, 2013

Taking “medical humanities” as its subject, this conference considers some of the investigations and interventions made by those who study illness and health from the perspectives of the arts, humanities, and human sciences.  Presentations by medical practitioners, historians, social justice advocates, medical journalists, disability studies and narrative studies scholars will be interspersed with readings by poets and novelists, reports from the field, and a theatrical performance.

Value and Labor

Monday, February 4, 2013

Many economists and philosophers, ranging from Aquinas and Ibn Khaldun to Adam Smith and Marx, have declared deep connections between value and labor.  Is there such a connection?  And if so, what form does it take? Two of the most prominent economists on the Left—Prabhat Patnaik and John Roemer--respond to these questions and their relevance to the global political economy today.

This talk will chart the rise of the algorithm as the backbone of rationality in post-World War II America, in contrast to earlier concepts of both reason and rules.

Marion Fourcade will discuss the concept of terroir—a French expression that captures the correspondence between the physical and human features of a place, and the character of its agricultural products.


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