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The panel will address the role of “strongmen” in escalating or, indeed, provoking democratic crises. There will be an emphasis on the relationship between the representations of modern leaders and the political actions such figures advocate and implement. How can we interpret Putin’s umbrella scene during the world cup final or the praises during Trump’s first cabinet meeting in the context of rituals of power? What does Viktor Orbán’s stadium-building obsession in Hungary or Erdogan’s monumental presidential palace tell us about the nature of those regimes? How do academic disciplines—history, political science, art history, cultural anthropology, cultural studies or psychology—help us understand and explain the complex relationship between representations and the exercise of power? Curiously enough, the relationship between political action and the (self-) representations of leadership has generally escaped the attention of journalists and analysts thus far. The panel aims to bring that relationship to the limelight and to show that the myths and rituals supporting the imagery of the “strong leader” are often indicative of the emergence of authoritarian political practices in a democratic environment. Panelists: Balazs Apor (Trinity College Dublin), "The Return of the King? The Crisis of Democracy and the Rebirth of the Leader Cult" Ruth Ben Ghiat (NYU), "Strongman Body Politics" Ido de Haan (Utrecht University), “Bonapartist leaders and the imaginary people” Chair: María González Pendás (Columbia)

Sasha Turner (Quinnipiac U), Contested Bodies: Pregnancy, Childrearing and Slavery in Jamaica (2017) Deirdre Cooper Owens (CUNY, Queens College), Medical Bondage: Race, Gender and the Origins of American Gynecology (2017) Respondents: Christopher Florio (SoF/Heyman) & Cristobal Silva (English and Comparative Literature) Chair: Arden Hegele (SoF/Heyman)​

Rob Boddice (Freie Universität Berlin / McGill University), “Representing Experiment: Medical Science and the Art of Public Relations, 1908-14” Respondent: Thomas Dodman (French) Chair: Warren Kluber (SoF/Heyman Graduate Fellow)

Roanne Kantor (Stanford, Comparative Literature) Nicole Wallack (University Writing Program) Rishi Goyal (ICLS-Medicine, Literature and Society) Chair: Lan Li (CSS/PSSN)

Beyond Physicians: Health and Individual Responsibility in History

Steven Marcus (1928–2018) was instrumental in the conception and realization of the National Humanities Center, and his intellectual leadership and continuous devotion helped nurture and guide the Center for most of the past 40+ years.

In this book, Judith Friedlander reconstructs the history of the New School in the context of ongoing debates over academic freedom, intellectual dissidents, and democratic education. Against the backdrop of World War I and the first Red Scare, the Hitler years and McCarthyism, the student uprisings during the Vietnam War and the downfall of communism in Eastern Europe, Friedlander tells a dramatic story of academic, political, and financial struggle through brief sketches of New School administrators, faculty members, trustees, and students, among them Alvin Johnson and the political philosopher Hannah Arendt. As this unique educational institution prepares to celebrate its one hundredth anniversary, A Light in Dark Times offers a timely reflection on the New School's legacy, which can serve as an inspiration for the academic community today.

The Caine Prize for African Writing is a literature prize awarded to an African writer of a short story published in English. The prize was launched in 2000 to encourage and highlight the richness and diversity of African writing by bringing it to a wider audience internationally. The focus on the short story reflects the contemporary development of the African story-telling tradition. Columbia University hosted the 2018 Caine Prize winner Makena Onjerika, who was awarded the prize for her short story ‘Fanta Blackcurrant’ published in Wasafiri (2017).