“It’s a beautiful thing to be on fire for justice.”—Dialogues that have shaped The New School for 100 years

September 11, 2019

An original post for The New School’s Medium page.

The New School has been a hub for civic engagement since its founding in 1919. In our Centennial year, we revisit the best of thousands of dialogues that have helped shape our history.

The New School

1. Solange Knowles

“I learned to use fashion and design and sculpture, and art as a way to communicate when words could not translate the intentions and emotions I had inside.”

Solange receives the Parsons Table Award at the 70th annual Parsons Benefit (June 14, 2018)

2. Amy Goodman | Democracy Now!

“The mainstream media is a misnomer. It is not mainstream. Because those who care about war and peace, those who care about the growing inequality in this country, racial economic social injustice, those who care about LGBTQ equality, people who care about climate change, the fate of the world, are not a fringe minority, not even a silent majority, but the silenced majority, silenced by the corporate media which is why we have to take it back.”

3. Yanis Varoufakis | former Greek Minister of Finance

“The only reason we have this epic struggle in the context of capitalism, between capital and labor, a struggle that can never be resolved as long as capitalism is alive and kicking as a mode of production, is because capital has an ironclad determination and objective and imperative to crush labor, to commodity labor, to cheapen labor, to effectively take over labor.”

4. Noam Chomsky | “the father of modern linguistics”

Noam Chomsky: On Power and Ideology | September 21, 2015

5. bell hooks | feminist + social activist

Dr. bell hooks was the Eugene Lang College Scholar-in-Residence from 2013–2015.

bell in conversation with Laverne Cox, October 2014

Are You Still a Slave? Liberating the Black Female Body

bell hooks in conversation with Gloria Steinem in 2014

bell hooks in conversation with Cornel West in 2014

bell hooks + Melissa Harris-Perry in 2013

How Do We Define Feminist Liberation?

bell hooks in conversation with Arthur Jafa in 2014

Man Enough: Theory and Practice In and Outside the The Classroom

bell hooks and Kevin Powell: Black Masculinity, Threat or Threatened

bell hooks in conversation with Theaster Gates and Laurie Anderson

6. Richard Wolff | famed Marxian economist

7. Dr. Chris Hedges, journalist

In 2009, Hedges published Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, wherein he charts the dramatic rise of a post-literate society that craves fantasy, ecstasy, and illusion. Hedges argues we now live in two societies: one, the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world and can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth; the other, a growing majority, is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic where serious film and theater, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins.

Chris Hedges’ Empire of Illusion — The New School

8. Dr. Cornel West | philosopher, political activist, social critic, author, and public intellectual

“It is a beautiful thing to be on fire for justice.” — Cornel West and Chris Hedges in conversation

Chris Hedges and Cornel West in Conversation — Wages of Rebellion | October 15, 2015

9. Dr. Baburam Bhattarai | former Prime Minister of Nepal

10. Victoria Beckham | Fashion designer

“People always think I’m going to be prima donna, but I don’t think there’s any room for that. It’s about being focused, it’s about working hard, and having a point of view.”

Victoria Beckham at Parsons School of Design — July 17, 2014

11. Diane Von Furstenberg | Fashion designer

“It’s incredibly important — the juice — the first encounters, the first opportunities, your first collections. What you do at first is very often the essence of what you will be doing later.”

Diane Von Furstenberg: 40 Years of the Wrap Dress — May 13, 2014
Diane Von Furstenberg, Honorary Degree Recipient in 2016

12. Laverne Cox | actress and LGBTQ+ advocate

Laverne Cox, Honorary Degree Recipient in 2016

13. Anna Sui | Fashion designer

Anna Sui , Honorary Degree Recipient 2017

14. Anita Sarkeesian | feminist media critic, blogger, and public speaker

Anita Sarkeesian, Honorary Degree Recipient 2016

15. DeRay Mckesson | civil rights activist, founder of #BlackLivesMatter

DeRay Mckesson, Honorary Degree Recipient 2016

16. Hilton Als | Pulitzer-prize winning writer and theater critic

Hilton Als — Honorary Degree Recipient 2018

17. Ai-jen Poo | Labor activist

Ai-jen Poo, Honorary Degree Recipient 2017

18. Glenn Ligon | Artist

Glenn Ligon — Honorary Degree Recipient — The New School

19. Thom Browne | fashion designer

20. Tim Gunn | Project Runway, former Chair of Fashion Design at Parsons

“I don’t have an ax to grind about anything, other than quality, taste, and style.”

Tim Gunn at The New School: Quality, Taste, and Style — August 10, 2010

21. Jonathan Franzen and Jhumpa Lahiri | Writers

Jonathan Franzen and Jhumpa Lahiri at The New School — March 22, 2011

21. Rihanna | Honored at the 2017 Parsons Benefit

22. Ethan Hawke | actor, writer, and director

About the Work: Ethan Hawke — March 22, 2017

23. Pharrell Williams | Honored at the 2019 Parsons Benefit

“My greatest wish is to see everyone in this room to keep dreaming and creating without limits…to open your mind to every idea and to open your work to everyone, to design for all bodies, genders, shapes, colors and abilities.”

71st Parsons Benefit: Pharrell Williams — June 3, 2019

24. Ani DiFranco with Cecile Richards

“In order to create something—to take the risk of using your voice and say your truth, even the inconvenient aspects—use your truth.”

Ani DiFranco at at The New School with Cecile Richards — May 10, 2019

25. Economics and Occupy Wall Street

26. Jenna Lyons | Fashion designer

27. Heather Boushey | Economics ‘98

Heather Boushey (Economics ‘98): The Political Economy of Time and ‘Work-Life Conflict’ — April 7, 2016

28. Cornel West, Professor of Philosophy Simon Critchley, Philosopher Anthony Gottlieb, Professor James Miller, filmmaker Astra Taylor

Does Philosophy Still Matter? February 1, 2011

29. Elaine Welteroth | former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue + Aurora James | Creative Director of Brother Vellies

Fashion, Culture & Justice — September 15, 2017

30. Raoul Peck | Haitian filmmaker + political activist

“When you want to understand what is going on in a society, you usually do it through the middle class because that’s where all the conflict comes across.”

2019 Hirshon Artist-in-Residence Raoul Peck — April 2, 2019

31. Nancy Fraser | critical theorist + feminist

“Socialism can’t remain simply a buzzword. It’s got to become an alternative to the system that is destroying the planet. That is mocking our capacities for living freely, democratically and well.”

Critique of Capitalism — Nancy Fraser

32. Étienne Balibar | French philosopher

Communism: Return to the New Commons? — Étienne Balibar — June 18, 2019

33. Achille Mbembe | Cameroonian philosopher, political theorist, and public intellectual

Borders in the Age of Networks — Achille Mbembe — June 18, 2019

34. Martin Luther King Jr. | civil rights activist

On February 6, 1964, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. took the stage at The New School. His appearance marked the start of the American Race Crisis Lecture Series, a for-credit lecture series bringing 16 luminaries of the American Civil Rights Movement together to discuss issues of social justice, integration, and equal access to education. But in time, the talks were forgotten, and the reel-to-reel recordings, press materials, and behind-the-scenes documents sat hidden in the inventories of The New School’s archives. Fifty years later, in February 2014, The New School partnered with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture to present Voices of Crisis, a month-long exhibition and series public programs to commemorate the original lecture series and reflect on the impact of the civil rights movement then and now.

35. Arundhati Roy | Man Booker Prize-winning author

36. Naomi Klein | social activist + filmmaker

37. Alber Elbaz | Israeli fashion designer

Alber Elbaz at Parsons School of Design — The New School

For more about upcoming Public Programs, visit our calendar. Catch conversations you may have missed on Livestream and YouTube.

Be sure to register for The Festival of New, October 1–6, 2019, to celebrate The New School’s 100-year legacy—and what’s yet to come. Free + open to the public.

The New School

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A university in New York City for scholarly activists, fearless artists, and convention-defying designers established in 1919. #100YearsNew

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