WR19 Full Program Information

28th Democracy & Diversity Graduate Summer Institute

Wrocław [Vrots-love], Poland, July 9-25, 2019


 Reclaiming Democratic Performatives: Actors, Spaces, Processes


The Democracy & Diversity Institute, organized annually by the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies (TCDS), is widely admired as an intimate international forum for lively but rigorous debate on critical issues of democratic life, offering an interdisciplinary, comparative, and highly interactive approach to the social, political, and cultural challenges facing today’s world.

Given the combination of an amazingly diverse student body from all over the region and beyond, the dedicated New School faculty, a challenging curriculum, and a setting conducive to both debate and esprit de corps,– but also unsettling reminders of the last century’s darkest hours (and the graphic presence of the current crisis) – the Institute has invariably become a transformative experience personally, intellectually, and professionally.

Located between Berlin, Prague, and Warsaw, and saturated with the history and memory of these three distinct cultures, Wrocław (formerly Breslau), is a beautiful and booming city that uniquely conveys both the challenges and the promise of a united Europe. Drawing on Wrocław’s culture of the borderland, 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, the Democracy & Diversity Institute offers a rigorous program of critical inquiry on some of the most pressing problems of our time.

In response to the new, disturbing, and often unpredictable political environment everywhere, we have chosen to make the theme of summer’s program Reclaiming Democratic Performatives: Actors, Spaces, Processes.

The program will be complemented by several study tours of Wrocław’s political, cultural and historical landmarks as well as evening events featuring major intellectuals and artists from the region.



New School students register for 2 courses and receive 6 credits. Other participants will receive Institute certificatesAll participants select 2 out of the following 4 graduate-level seminars:


International Refugee Law: Policy, Practice, Inventive Responses

Alex Aleinikoff – Professor of International Affairs and Director of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility


More than 68 million persons are currently displaced from their homes because of violence and conflict. Twenty million have crossed an international border and are “refugees”; forty million persons remain in their country of origin (“internally displaced persons”). This course will examine the international legal norms, policies and institutional structures for responding to forced migration. It will consider specific topics, such as climate change as a driver of displacement, the Global Compact on Refugees, and the search for solutions to long-standing displacement situations. The objectives of the course are to analyze the current situation of displaced persons, understand the strengths and weaknesses of the existing international architecture, and develop conceptually sound and empirically based proposal for reform.



Radical Animal: Dismantling Discourses of Dehumanization

Alice Crary – Professor of Philosophy, NSSR


Concern about the plight of animals is necessary for combating not only animals’ mistreatment but also the oppression of human beings, since the abuse of humans often accompanies the abuse of animals. This course will consider the many—historical and current—patterns of belief and practice
in which groups of humans are subjugated by means of invidious comparisons to animals. Critics of these animalizing ideologies frequently insist — in a manner that re-inscribes the ideologies’ debasement of animals — that the targeted humans are superior to animals.  In this situation, the question is whether it is possible to arrive at a satisfactory account of animal moral standing that is at the same time consistent with human egalitarianism. We will try to develop such an account and discuss ways in which to challenge both the animalizing ideologies and the existing critique of the ideology itself, limited — as it is — to confronting modes of thought and action that subjugate rational human beings.


#MeToo: Sex, Power and the Public Sphere

Shireen Hassim – Carleton University, Ottawa


The association of sex, power and politics is old – as old, after all, as Pandora’s box. Yet something new is happening that is shaking up the public sphere in ways that are profound. The global expressions of empathy and recognition of sexual harassment and sexual violence across the world, under the hashtag MeToo, offered a new framing for movements against patriarchy in the 21st century. New discussions about gender and power in the workplace – whether in corporate or in political office – have been enabled, and on a scale unimaginable in previous moments of political reframing. Powerful men have been exposed as sexual predators, and a culture of silence and complicity has been revealed. #MeToo reinvigorated older questions about who gets heard in the public sphere and in political systems that are determinedly and stubbornly white and male, despite the major inroads of civil rights, queer and women’s movements in the past decades. Although some of its most spectacular tactics resulted in public naming of predators, it has broader impact for the ways in which it re-centred sexual violence as systemic, embedded in institutions and practices, rather than as moral pathologies of individual men. For some, the movement reflects a crisis in democracy as the increasing presence of women in the public sphere does not appear to have translated into real authority and voice in society. For others, though, it puts democracy into crisis as its tactics appear to flout the norms of procedural justice. This course will consider longstanding questions about the relationship between public and private power, authority and voice, drawing on feminist, critical race and queer theory. It will examine the effectiveness and limits of human rights discourses within the liberal juridical framing, questioning its capacities to address and adjudicate invisibilised and normalized forms of power. It will examine the social movement tactics of the #MeToo movement, thinking afresh about the mobilization of affect in politics: not only rage but also the effectiveness of sympathy and empathy, and of the creation of shared recognition as the basis of politics. Might democracy be renewed, after all?

***This course will count toward the requirements of the New School Gender and Sexuality Studies Certificate


We the People: Nationalism, Populism, and the Precariousness of the Democratic Project

Elzbieta Matynia, Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies, The New School for Social Research


Democracy – a major political imaginary in the last two centuries — has lost its aspirational role, and seems to be in retreat everywhere. What are the social factors and political forces that have facilitated the emergence of a striking phenomenon: a transition FROM democracy? Trying to understand the appeal of an illiberal order and a retreat from the intellectual legacy of the Enlightenment, this seminar explores recent attempts by two competing forces to recast the democratic promise: nationalism and populism, both of which — in their varied historical and modern expressions – speak as we the people.

While examining the plurality of concepts and forms of nationalism and populism, we will discuss a new fusion of ethno-nationalism, xenophobia, and ultra-populism that plants fear, distrust and does not shy away from violence. But we will also look at instances of the kind of inclusive social engagement — critical to any democracy — in which the key identity of its actors is that of citizens enacting democratic practices, in which the good of society as a whole is what’s at stake. Our discussions will consider material from a variety of sources and examine cases from different parts of the world, including Europe and the United States.




The Institute participants will be housed in the ‘Brownstone Under the Angels’ Residence located adjacent to the historical city center. http://kamienicapodaniolami.pl/en/



Graduate applicants: 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.


Advanced undergraduate applicants: Applicants must be enrolled as juniors or seniors. Preference will be given to those applicants who, while academically inclined, can demonstrate an active interest in civic life.



~Participants from The New School:

Tuition: Tuition for applicants from The New School is based on the tuition they pay at their respective home divisions. New School financial aid is applicable. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

Program Fee: The program fee of $1,500 covers participants’ 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. Successful applicants can apply for support in their respective divisions. New School for Social Research (NSSR) students may apply directly to TCDS for support in covering the program fee.  We encourage all applicants to look for outside funding sources.


~Participants from other institutions in the US and abroad:

Program Fee: The program fee of the 2019 Graduate Summer Institute for non-New School students is $1,500, 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. We strongly encourage all applicants to look for funding sources from their home institutions and local organizations.



TCDS offers a limited number of partial scholarships to cover a portion of the program fee.  All applicants are considered for these scholarships and no additional application forms are required in order to be considered for a partial scholarship.  In addition, TCDS offers a limited number of full scholarships to students from Eurasia (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Belarus) & students from Turkey! Full scholarships include travel to and from Poland, room and partial board (breakfast and lunch every day, dinner is not included), and tuition.



Applications are available online here.

~All Applicants from The New School need to submit:

Completed application form ● CV or resume ● Application essay (approx. 500 words describing how the Institute would complement one’s academic experience to date and enhance educational and professional goals for the future) ● New School academic transcript (unofficial)

~All other Applicants need to submit:

Completed application form ● CV or resume ● Application essay in English (approx. 500 words describing how the Institute would complement one’s academic experience to date and enhance educational and professional goals for the future) ● One letter of recommendation sent from the e-mail address belonging to its author or as an attachment to the application letter if scanned ● TOEFL or other evidence of substantial English language skills is required if coming from a non-English speaking country ●Applicants affiliated with an NGO or a civic organization should also include a brief description of the nature of the work undertaken by their organization.



~Applicants from The New School except for Eugene Lang College:  Please submit application materials to TCDS via e-mail: tcds@newschool.edu with the subject “WR19 Application.” You can also submit your application in person at TCDS, 6 E 16th st., 9th Floor, NY, NY 10003.


~Applicants from Eugene Lang College:  Please submit application materials to TCDS via e-mail: tcds@newschool.edu; via mail or in person: TCDS,6 E 16th st., 9th Floor, NY, NY 10003; please be sure to CC LangStudyAbroad@newschool.edu in your email and include “WR19 Application” in the subject line.


~Applicants from Poland: All applicants from Poland should apply through the International Institute for the Study of Culture and Education (IISCE) at the University of Lower Silesia. Please submit application materials via e-mail: iisce@dsw.edu.pl with the subject “WR19 Application”.


~All other Applicants: Please submit application materials to TCDS via e-mail: tcds@newschool.edu with the subject “WR19 Application.”tcds@newschool.edu You can also send your application by mail to The Transregional Center for Democratic Studies (TCDS),6 E 16th st., 9th Floor, NY, NY 10003.



For all New School applicants, the extended application deadline is April 7th, 2019.

For all other applicants, the extended application deadline is April 12th, 2019.


For more information, please visit our website: http://blogs.newschool.edu/tcds

or contact us by e-mail at tcds@newschool.edu or by phone at 212 229-5100 ext. 3136.