Democracy & Diversity Summer Institute in Poland 2011

2011-02-16 14:41:40 / News read 1797 reading

TCDS announces the twentieth annual Democracy & Diversity Summer Institute Wroclaw, Poland, July 8-­‐24, 2011.

The Transregional Center of Democratic Studies of the New School for Social Research is very pleased to announce the twentieth Democracy & Diversity Summer Institute, to be held in Wroclaw, Poland, from July 8 -­‐ 24, 2011. Located in a landmark modernist structure in the largest park of the Lower Silesia region, the institute offers an intensive program of study, equivalent to a full semester of graduate study in the US.



Known as an intimate international forum for lively but rigorous debate on critical issues of democratic life, the Institute brings an interdisciplinary, comparative, and highly interactive approach to the social, political, and cultural challenges facing today's world. We are looking forward to welcoming another cohort of up to forty junior scholars from the US, Europe, and other parts of the world to this anniversary session of the Democracy & Diversity Institute. This year's programme will unfold around the theme The World in Crisis: A Critical Reading, and will consider issues of political violence, the salient role of new media, the contestation of gender, and the ethnicization of politics. 



Located between Berlin, Prague and Warsaw, and saturated with the history and memory of these three distinct cultures, Wroclaw (formerly Breslau) is a beautiful and booming city that uniquely conveys both the challenges and the promise of a unitied Europe.  Drwaing on Wroclaw's culture of the boarderland TCDS's network of distinguished and dedicated collaborators and alumni, and the New School's reputation stemming from our long-­‐term engagement in the region, this anniversary session of the Democracy & Diversity Institute offers a rigorous program of critical inquiry on some of the most pressing problems of our time.




Our local collaborator is the International Institute for the Study of Culture and Education at the University of Lower Silesia.





Gender Stable and Unstable: How Urgent Are Gender Questions? Are Gender Issues Ever Eligible for the Status of Crisis?

Professor Ann Snitow, Eugene Lang College




It is a feminist truism that women's problems are never considered emergencies - or not until their children are starving and they riot in the streets. Rather, the fluctuating and unstable legal and social situation of women is more often seen as unremarkable, outside politics and history. Though in the last forty years the Feminist Movement has sought to raise public consciouseness about the centrality of gender in everybody's fate, gender consciousness comes in and out of focus as a significant variable in public debates about what is to be considered a disaster, requiring an urgent response. What strategies have different political actors used to elevate oppression, exploitation, poverty, and violence to states of emergency? Sometimes an apocalyptic atmosphere has served social movements, sometimes not. In this course we will critique the concept crisis and its various strategic outcomes in feminist struggles. Case studies will include such topics as: Abu Ghraib, the politics of housework, poverty, trafficking, and motherhood. Gender itself is often currently figured as in crisis, with some concerned about a collapse of male and female identity and of the family, while others eagerly and urgently foster that collapse of gender categories.




Media and News in a Time of Crisis

Professor Daniel Dayan, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris & New School for Social Research; Professor Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, New School for Social Research 



In this seminar we will examine the way different media cover contemporary crises. The sociological approach of Erving Goffman will provide the foundational approach for our investigations and systematic analysis of how different media show crises and how they facilitate and undermine the capacity of people to act upon crises. In the first part of the course "from face to face to mediated action" focus will be on the internet and mobile media, and in the second part, "Goffman and visual media" focus will be on television news, documentaries, ethnographic films and news photographs. Two pivotal sessions will consider "the politics of small things, the act of "monstration" and "what Ervin Goffman would say about WikiLeaks".  Such crises as the Palestinian -­‐ Israeli conflict, the global economic recession and its social implications, terrorism and anti-­‐terrorism, transitions "to and from democracy" and political scandals will be discussed.




Romancing Violence: Theories and Practices of Political Violence

Professor Elzbieta Matynia, New School for Social Research




How is it that - despite extraordinary success in recent decades with creating both political culture and political mechanisms to bring about the end of military dictatorships and the peaceful dismantling of oppressive regimes - the use of force and violence seems to be enjoying a spectacular rebound? While exploring classical theoretical propositions concerning the role of violence in bringing about social and political change - from Marx, through Weber, Lenin, Gramsci, Arendt, and Benjamin, to more recent thinkers like Foucault, Derrida, Zizek, and Michnik - we will look at different types of political violence and its specific instances, and revisit Arendt's -­‐known distinction between the justifiability and the legitimacy of violence. Conscious of the traditional forms of political violence - wars, revolutions, and armed struggle movements - we will pay particular attention to forms and consequences of structural violence, but also examine the forms of cultural and symbolic violence (e.g. language) that routinely serve to legitimize violence. Using historical, but also hermeneutical and phenomenological approaches, we will explore ideas and practices generated in different parts of the world, with an emphasis on Europe, Latin America, and Southern Africa.




"We the People" Nationalism, Ethnicity and Belonging

Professor Sharika Thiranagama, New School for Social Research




Despite the predicted decline of ethno-­‐nationalism in the late twentieth century with the rise of transnational and global institutions, nationalism and ethnicity still seem very much integral to political and personal vocabularies, practices and identities.  Taking as a starting point Ernesro Laclau's insight that popular sovereignity and speaking in the name of "the people" has become the organizing force of the modern state and modern political imaginaries, this seminar explores struggles over how "the people" are named and recognized through looking at (often highly violent) contests to substantialize oneself or one's group through the language and emotional attachments of ethnicity -  in the midst of considerable global and local uncertainty. We will look at processes of ethnicisation and ethnic conflicts by focusing on issues as diverse as the gendering of ethnic conflict, language and cultural holism, contests over histories and spaces, the impact of globalization, post-­‐colonial - colonized and  colonizer - state and - colo- cnized and colonizer citizen relations, civil war, and the rise of the rhetoric of treason.  We will also try to understand why ethnicisation in the twentieth century has beeaccompanied by so much violence. We will read both theoretical and historical and ethnographic material from a wide variety of sources and examine cases from Indonesia, Rwanda, India, Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland, Guatemala, and Western and Eastern Europe.




Extracurricular Activities




This year's cultural program  will include an exploration of architectural and historical landmarks of Wroclaw, such as the modernist masterpiece Centennial Hall, Wroclaw's Old Jewish Cementary, and the Quarter of Mutual Respect, as well as a tour of the region of Lower Silesia, including the Gross Rosen concentration camp. The cultural program will also include evening sessions in Wroclaw's cultural and artistic institutions with prominent intellectuals and artists from the region.








The Institute participants will be housed in the Park Hotel of the Osrodek Panstwowej Inspekcji Pracy Conference Center, located in Park Szczytnicki near the center of Wroclaw. The hotel is close to the historical part of the city and the famous Centennial Hall. Shared accommodations will be arranged for participants in the modernist dormitory and classes will be held in the next-­‐door conference center. Breakfast and lunch will be served in the hotel.






All applicants except for Eugene Lang College Candidates: Applicants should have completed their undergraduate studies by the time of the Institute and should be either enrolled in a postgraduate degree program or working as junior university teachers or researchers. Preference will be given to those applicants who can demonstrate active involvement in civil society and civic life. Candidates from Eugene Lang College: In order to be admitted into the program, applicants must be enrolled at Eugene Lang College as juniors or seniors. ELC students in the Social and Historical Inquiry and Cultural Studies & Media concentrations are especially encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to those applicants who can demonstrate active involvement in civil society and civic life.





Program Costs


  • Participants from The New School:




Tuition costs for courses taken for credit at the 2011 Summer Institute in Wroclaw are based on the summer 2011 NSSR tuition rates for graduate students, and are part of fall 2011 tuition for Lang students. New School financial aid is applicable. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information. 



Program Fee:



In addition to the cost of tuition, there is a program fee of $2000 which will cover participant's room and partial board (breakfast and lunch) for the duration of the Institute, as well as the cultural program of lectures, tours, opening and closing receptions, etc. Travel costs are not included.



Scholarships: Scholarships to cover all or part of the $2000 program fee are available to successful NSSR applicants. Please indicate on your application form if you would like to be considered for a scholarship.





  • Participants from other universities in the US and universities/NGOs abroad:


Program Fee:

The program fee of the 2011 Summer Institute for non-­‐New School students is $2500, covering tuition (non-­‐credit), room and partial board (breakfast and lunch), and the cultural program of lectures, tours, opening and closing receptions, etc. Travel costs are not included.


Scholarships: Limited scholarships to cover all or part of the $2500 program fee may be available. Please indicate on your application form if you would like to be considered for a scholarship. However, we encourage all applicants to look for funding sources from their home institutions and local organizations.




How to Apply

Applications are available on the TCDS Web site at Please note that applications need to include a CV or resume and application essay and a copy of your academic transcript (New School students only). Non-­‐New School applicants also need to include TOEFL or other evidence of substantial English language skills and one letter of recommendation. Recommendation letters must be sent from the e-­‐mail address belonging to its author or as an attachment to the application letter if scanned.




Applicants from Poland:

All applicants from Poland should apply through the International Institute for the Study of Culture and Education of the University of Lower Silesia. Application materials should be submitted via e-­‐mail: (include WR11 Application in the subject heading); or via fax: +48 71 358 27 58.






Applicants from Eugene Lang College:


Please complete this application in full and submit it to Kimberly Foote via e-­‐mail:; via mail or in person: Kim Foote, Junior Class & Study Abroad Advisor, Eugene Lang College, 64 W. 11th St., Rm. 108, New York, NY 10011; or via fax: 212.979.6561, marked with WR11 Application.




All other Applicants:


Application materials should be submitted via email: (include WR11 Application in the subject heading); mail: TCDS, 80 Fifth Avenue, room 517, New York, NY 10011; or via fax: (1) 212 229-­‐5929. For further information, contact TCDS by phone at 212 229-­‐5580 ext. 3137, by email, or see our website at




The DEADLINE for applications is Monday, MARCH 14, 2011.






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