Plans for Saskia Sassen to join the SERIOUS TIMES LECTURE SERIES in academic year, 2016-2017

….to discuss the most obvious thing in the world, which no one can solve: How can it be, nation by nation, that a minority is so handily capable of inflicting so much damage on so many people? Almost anything one thinks of would serve as documentation: Most Americans today, for instance, want gun control–we don’t have that. Most Americans today are deeply disturbed by the reality of the transformation of the climate–we can’t respond. Most Americans are in favor of labor unions—labor unions are being destroyed.

And when our focus moves internationally we discover parallels in every instance, nation by nation—as if, one might speculate—that is what nations exist to do. Is that possible? And, if so, is there anything the disenfranchised can do in opposition? In the structure of global capitalism, could nations conceivably function in another way?
These are questions that SASKIA SASSEN—whose work specializes in cities and nations—will discuss with graduate students at CRITICAL THEORY AND THE ARTS. Central to our seminar will be Professor Sassen’s recent, “Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy.” As she writes, “The organizing thesis is that our global modernity is marked by systemic expulsions of all sorts: we are beyond simply more inequality, more poverty, more refugees in the global south, and so on. And it is often our complex intermediary processes, requiring talent and knowledge, which are facilitating such expulsions.”

SASKIA SASSEN is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, and chairs The Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University.