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  • NYS Writers Institute

Announcing our new series:“Rebuilding the Republic”

We're excited and proud to announce our ambitious “Rebuilding the Republic” series, a months-long array of events addressing many urgent issues we face today — including the threat of political insurrection, racist violence, economic inequity, and social strife — and the prospect of emerging a better nation from adversity.

“The deadly assault on the United States Capitol on January 6 by insurrectionists was a stark reminder that democracy is fragile, and it faces serious threats that need to be addressed,” said Paul Grondahl, Director of the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany.

“In responding to this moment, we have created a semester-long series of programs and conversations around the theme of ‘Rebuilding the Republic,’” Grondahl said. “We have chosen these authors and their works because they shed light on social forces under duress that are igniting political violence, racial unrest, economic inequality and a fraying of the American fabric. Now is the time to lower the temperature and to reflect upon and discuss ways we can emerge as a better, stronger nation tested by a pandemic and adversity and help restore our republic.”

  • Events will be posted here on our website and to our mailing list.

  • All events are free and open to the public.

  • Video events will premiere at 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and will be available for viewing at your convenience thereafter.

The program kicks off on Tuesday, Feb. 23, with Eddie Glaude, a leading public intellectual and author of the upcoming bookBegin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own.

On Thursday, Feb. 25, Sam Jackson, a professor in UAlbany’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity, will discuss his new book, Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group.

A look at more “Rebuilding the Republic” events:

  • Jill Lepore, one of the great American historians of her generation, will discuss data mining and voter manipulation.

  • New York Times columnist Ross Douthat will discuss his upcoming book The Decadent Society: America Before and After the Pandemic, and former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert will discuss his documentary "Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class."

  • In partnership with the National Death Penalty Archive at the University at Albany, a discussion on “The Past and Future of Criminal Justice” will feature Maurice Chammah, author ofLet the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty.

  • “Socialism in the Age of AOC and Bernie Sanders” with Bhaskar Sunkara(The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality) and Kristen Ghodsee(Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence).

  • Mark Bittman, one of America’s most influential food writers (Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal) sharing his thoughts on why America needs a revolution in its food industry.

  • A discussion titled “The Front Lines of Hate” will feature Kathleen Belew (Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America) and Seyward Darby (Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism).

  • “The Psychology of Terrorists” will feature noted psychologist John Horgan, whose book The Psychology of Terrorism has been published in more than a dozen languages around the world.

  • “Is White Nationalism Becoming Mainstream?” with Alexandra Stern, a recognized authority on the history of eugenics and the author of Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate: How the Alt-Right Is Warping the American Imagination, and Cas Mudde, the author of The Far Right Today, a concise overview of far-right politics in the U.S. and across the world.

  • Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, one of the first undocumented students at Harvard, and the author of The Undocumented Americans, a 2020 National Book Award finalist for Nonfiction.

Stay tuned. Several more events will be announced. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please add a comment below. Thank you for your continued support.


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