New York Thought: Smart Things to Do in NYC This Week

The science of polarization, Muslim philosophy and Western tradition, and a debate on national security highlight our picks for the best smart things to do in NYC this week.

Monday, September 17

A Barnard College professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies sits down with a professor of biology for a look at “the interdependency between biology and culture that shapes how we understand sexuality and sexual attraction.”

Texas Observer civil rights reporter Michael Barajas joins Marshall Project reporter Eli Hagar and WNYC’s Kai Wright for a discussion of classrooms and courtroomsThe New School.

Image courtesy of Terry Golway

Ahead of the 2018 gubernatorial election, historians Terry Golway and Peter Quinn take a look back at two iconic New York governors, Al Smith and Franklin Roosevelt, whose careers intertwined in the 1920s. Museum of the City of New York.

Psychoanalyst and author Dr. Gail Saltz speaks with the world’s foremost scholar of Auguste Renoir, Barbara Ehrlich White, at a noontime edition of Psychobiography at the 92nd Street Y. They’ll correct common misconceptions about Renoir, and look at a life of perseverance (Renoir overcame 30 years of poverty, followed by 30 years of progressive paralysis of his fingers, to produce some 4,000 works of enduring art).

Tuesday, September 18

Defy categorization at this conversation with rapper, musician, and all-around multidisciplinary artist Dessa on her new memoir/story collection My Own DevicesThe Strand.

Also at The Strand you can hear from award-winning investigative journalist Shane Bauer, who recounts his experiences as an entry-level prison guard in Louisiana and the centuries-long history of for-profit prisons in America.

Wednesday, September 19

Get a first-hand account of the problems faced by undocumented immigrants at this talk between Dear America author Jose Antonio Vargas and MSNBC host Joy Reid. powerHouse Arena.

Sociologist Crystal M. Fleming speaks about her new book, which breaks through the many misconceptions of race that litter politics, education, and pop culture. Find out more about How to Be Less Stupid About Race at The Strand.

Caveat continues its series on democracy with “string theory for the midterm elections.” They’ll be looking at the real evidence for polarization, why it’s so hard to change minds, and what the implications are for potential national reunifications in Cramming for the Midterms: How We Got So Polarized (And What to Do About It).

Thursday, September 20

And speaking of polarization…Five leaders in foreign policy thought, from across the political spectrum, come together for a trio of debates ahead of the next gathering of the UN General Assembly. The topics drawing fors and againsts: It’s Time to Take a Hard Line on Iran, NATO Is No Longer Fit for Purpose, and The Russia Threat Is OverblownSymphony Space.

Columbia professor Souleymane Bachir Diagne talks about his new book, Open to Reason: Muslim Philosophers in Conversation with the Western Tradition, which traces the history of Muslim philosophy. Diagne argues that Islamic thinkers have long embraced plurality and engagement as they’ve grappled with the boundaries of religion, rationalism, and philosophy.

Plant your roots at this talk on the beauty of bonsai with professional bonsai artist and curator Julian Velasco. Japan Society.

Find our picks for the weekend here.

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