WR 17 Faculty

ROBIN WAGNER-PACIFICI is the University in Exile Professor of Sociology at the New School for Social Research after having taught at Swarthmore College for over two decades. She is the author of The Art of Surrender: Decomposing Sovereignty at Conflict’s EndTheorizing the Standoff: Contingency in ActionDiscourse and Destruction: The City of Philadelphia vs MOVE; and The Moro Morality Play: Terrorism as Social Drama. Among her published articles, she has co-authored (with Barry Schwartz), the AJS article “The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial: Commemorating a Difficult Past” and authored the AJS article “Theorizing the Restlessness of Events”. An ongoing collaboration to analyze the official language of national security using computation textual analysis has generated the article, “Graphing the Grammar of Motives in U.S. National Security Strategies: Cultural Interpretation, Automated Text Analysis and the Drama of Global Politics,” (co-authored with several colleagues), in a special issue of Poetics. Finally, Wagner-Pacifici has just completed a book, to be published by the University of Chicago Press, titled What is an Event? The book tracks the eruptions, forms, and flows of events.


SHIREEN HASSIM is Professor of Politics and her research interests are in the area of feminist theory and politics, social movements and collective action, the politics of representation and affirmative action, and social policy. She is the author of Women’s Organizations and Democracy in South Africa: Contesting Authority (2006), which won the 2007 American Political Science Association’s Victoria Shuck Award for best book on women and politics, and The ANC Women’s League: Sex, Gender and Politics (2014). She is co-editor of No Shortcuts to Power: Women and Policymaking in Africa (2003); Gender and Social Policy in a Global Context (2006) and Go Home or Die Here: Xenophobia, Violence and the Reinvention of Difference in South Africa. Shireen’s new book project is entitled Contingency and Uncertainty: Working with and Against the State in South Africa. It is an attempt to theorise why and how it is that various feminist claims on the state are so easily incorporated without significant impact on the underlying power relations in the state, and between state and society. Other new work considers ways in which categories of citizenship rest on a binary conception of gender, and the ways in which addressing embodied claims (such as the recognition claims of intersex and transgender people) has shifted law and state into territories not conceived of by feminist activists or the state.


JEFFREY GOLDFARB is the Michael E. Gellert Professor of Sociology at the New School for Social Research and a long-time TCDS faculty. He is also the founding editor of Public Seminar. His work primarily focuses on the sociology of media, culture and politics. He is the author of eight books, including The Politics of Small Things and Civility and Subversion: the Intellectual in Democratic Society. He has studied, historically and comparatively, the conditions and consequences of free public life, with special focus on Central Europe and North America. In recent years he has been studying this problem in Israel – Palestine. He has also worked to link his theoretical endeavors to practical action in supporting free public life. For his public and intellectual work in Central Europe, Goldfarb was awarded the Solidarity Medal from the Polish government, presented by former President Lech Walesa.


ELZBIETA MATYNIA is Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies, and director of the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies. Her research in political and cultural sociology focuses on democratic transformations, gender and democracy, the borderlands of a shared Europe, and more recently on the challenges faced by democracies emerging with a legacy of violence. As director of TCDS, she has developed and directs international Democracy & Diversity Institutes for rigorous study and cross-cultural research on the critical issues facing today’s world. Her book Performative Democracy (2009, Paradigm), explores a potential in political life that easily escapes theorists: the indigenously inspired enacting of democracy by citizens. Challenges following 1989 are explored in her  An Uncanny Era. Conversations between Adam Michnik and Vaclav Havel. (2013 Yale University Press). A Fulbright research scholar in South Africa, she is working on a new book, Democracy After Violence. Elzbieta is a member of the editorial board of Social Research.