A Night of Philosophy & Ideas

A Night of Philosophy & Ideas, at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, is an all-night marathon of philosophical debate, performances, screenings, readings, music, and virtual reality experiences that takes over the entirety of the iconic Central Library.

This year’s participants will consider humanity’s relationship to the world, to nature, to other living beings and species, and to technology. They will ask: What is the meaning of life? How do we live our lives from beginning to end, be it striving or barely surviving? How do we define that experience and how do we situate ourselves in this world?

French-American economist Esther Duflo, winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics, will kick off the evening with a keynote address. The lineup also features a French anthropologist, sociologist, and physician Didier Fassin, professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies and Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales; Catherine Malabou, professor of Philosophy at Kingston University (UK) and UCI; Maïa Mazaurette, a Brooklyn-based French author, columnist, and illustrator whose work deals with contemporary sexuality and the body’s place in society; and Barbara Stiegler, professor of philosophy at the University of Bordeaux Montaigne and a member of the Institut Universitaire de France.

Performances will include Unnamed, from Jérôme Thomas, a French juggler whose work integrates contemporary dance and theatre, and Armenian-Syrian artist Hratch Arbach’s MAWTINI: lost homelands, in a site-specific installation. The event will also feature a late-night screening of Jacques Rivette’s landmark 1971 film Out 1, and an exhibition of work by New York-based visual artist Mary Mattingly, whose “sculptural ecosystems” in urban spaces include Swale and Pull, and who founded the Waterpod Project (2009), a barge-based public space and self-sufficient habitat that hosted over 200,000 visitors in New York.

Additional Highlights

What Is Democracy? filmmaker Astra Taylor
Philosophy of Race author Naomi Zack
Award-winning author and scholar Ilan Stavans
Latina feminism scholar Mariana Ortega
Philosophers Mark Alizart and Annie Pfeifer
Scholars from Columbia University’s Earth Institute

Co-presenters: Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Brooklyn Public Library

Learn more about the behind-the-scenes process of The New York Times philosophy series, The Stone, by attending The Art of the Philosophical Op-Ed Workshop with Peter Catapano. At this workshop and live reading, Catapano will discuss The Stone ’s editing process and introduce the finalists of the Library’s philosophical op-ed contest, who will read their work. To enter the contest, submit an op-ed of 750 words or less by Jan. 30 to [email protected] Winners will be notified by email by Feb. 1. Contestants are encouraged to read examples from The Stone before submitting.


About the Cultural Services of the French Embassy
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, digital innovation, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, intellectuals and innovators to cities nationwide. It also builds partnerships between French and American artists, institutions and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop Albertine, it fosters French-American exchange around literature and the arts.











When: Sat., February 1, 2020 - Sun., February 2, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 7:00 am
Where: Brooklyn Public Library - Central Library
10 Grand Army Plaza
718-230-2100
Price: Free
Buy tickets/get more info now
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A Night of Philosophy & Ideas, at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, is an all-night marathon of philosophical debate, performances, screenings, readings, music, and virtual reality experiences that takes over the entirety of the iconic Central Library.

This year’s participants will consider humanity’s relationship to the world, to nature, to other living beings and species, and to technology. They will ask: What is the meaning of life? How do we live our lives from beginning to end, be it striving or barely surviving? How do we define that experience and how do we situate ourselves in this world?

French-American economist Esther Duflo, winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics, will kick off the evening with a keynote address. The lineup also features a French anthropologist, sociologist, and physician Didier Fassin, professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies and Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales; Catherine Malabou, professor of Philosophy at Kingston University (UK) and UCI; Maïa Mazaurette, a Brooklyn-based French author, columnist, and illustrator whose work deals with contemporary sexuality and the body’s place in society; and Barbara Stiegler, professor of philosophy at the University of Bordeaux Montaigne and a member of the Institut Universitaire de France.

Performances will include Unnamed, from Jérôme Thomas, a French juggler whose work integrates contemporary dance and theatre, and Armenian-Syrian artist Hratch Arbach’s MAWTINI: lost homelands, in a site-specific installation. The event will also feature a late-night screening of Jacques Rivette’s landmark 1971 film Out 1, and an exhibition of work by New York-based visual artist Mary Mattingly, whose “sculptural ecosystems” in urban spaces include Swale and Pull, and who founded the Waterpod Project (2009), a barge-based public space and self-sufficient habitat that hosted over 200,000 visitors in New York.

Additional Highlights

What Is Democracy? filmmaker Astra Taylor
Philosophy of Race author Naomi Zack
Award-winning author and scholar Ilan Stavans
Latina feminism scholar Mariana Ortega
Philosophers Mark Alizart and Annie Pfeifer
Scholars from Columbia University’s Earth Institute

Co-presenters: Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Brooklyn Public Library

Learn more about the behind-the-scenes process of The New York Times philosophy series, The Stone, by attending The Art of the Philosophical Op-Ed Workshop with Peter Catapano. At this workshop and live reading, Catapano will discuss The Stone ’s editing process and introduce the finalists of the Library’s philosophical op-ed contest, who will read their work. To enter the contest, submit an op-ed of 750 words or less by Jan. 30 to [email protected] Winners will be notified by email by Feb. 1. Contestants are encouraged to read examples from The Stone before submitting.


About the Cultural Services of the French Embassy
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, digital innovation, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, intellectuals and innovators to cities nationwide. It also builds partnerships between French and American artists, institutions and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop Albertine, it fosters French-American exchange around literature and the arts.

Buy tickets/get more info now