Podcasts

CUNY Lecture Series

Inequality by the Numbers

May 15, 2014 | CUNY Lecture Series

The tendency of the rate of return on capital to exceed the growth rate under modern capitalism is “a very strong force pushing toward potentially very large inequalities in wealth,” argues economist Thomas Piketty, author of the best-selling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Speaking at The CUNY Graduate Center, Piketty says “inequalities may return to, or be even higher than, 19th-century levels.” But that isn’t inevitable. “A proper progressive tax on net wealth” argues Piketty, “can be a way to try to increase wealth mobility and to make this vast quantity of wealth, which is in itself a good thing, more equally distributed.”

Holocaust of Evil, Not Banality

April 30, 2014 | CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center

Fifty years ago, philosopher Hannah Arendt set off a firestorm with a series for The New Yorker, “Eichmann: An Report on the Banality of Evil,” calling him not a “monster” but a “clown.” In a lecture, Richard Wolin, Distinguished Professor of history at the Graduate Center, uses Arendt’s own language to counter her hypothesis. “If the Holocaust was evil then it was not banal, and if it was banal then it was not evil.” Wolin was joined by Jeffrey Herf, professor of history from the University of Maryland and author of “The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust.”

The Craft of Writing From Two Artists

April 14, 2014 | CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center

Interim Chancellor William Kelly engages two of the University’s most distinctive stylists on the art and craft of teaching writing, Andre Aciman of the Graduate Center and the author of seven books, and Colum McCann of Hunter College, the 2009 National Book Award winner for his novel, Let The Great World Spin. Recalling his youth in Ireland, McCann jokes it was an uninspiring one. “No stories to tell — the worst thing for a novelist — I had a happy childhood,” and Aciman discusses the rewards of teaching at a public institution. “There’s no arrogance, no sense of entitlement — everybody wants to succeed.”

Judy Collins Beat Back the Bear

February 6, 2014 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

One of the most successful Grammy Award-winning American folk singers says she has had her own share of personal challenges. “I was drinking myself to death. I had top 10 hits. Everything was just fine except I couldn’t work and people just didn’t know it,” says Collins, speaking at the Hunter College Roosevelt House Public […]

Dinkins on Dinkins

January 30, 2014 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

Of his years in office, former mayor David Dinkins says that “one of the real tragedies of our administration was the Crown Heights riots.” Speaking candidly at the Hunter College Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, Dinkins said, “I regret not telling the police sooner that they’ve got to do better … I take the blame […]

Confronting Income Inequality

January 2, 2014 | CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center

The one percent versus the 99 percent – an old story by now, but one that etches societies to varying degrees in countries around the world. Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly explores the issue with two Graduate Center faculty members, Janet Gornick, a professor of political science and sociology, and World Bank economist, Branko Milanovic. […]

Guare Values the Unease of the Unanswered

December 9, 2013 | CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

Angst is what a great play should impart to its audience, acclaimed playwright John Guare says. “I like to send an audience out with a sense of unease. … A play gives you, not the answers to life, but rather the questions to ask of life.” The multi-Tony award-winning author of “Six Degrees of Separation” […]

Gay Talese Gives Curiosity the Credit

December 5, 2013 | CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center

Legendary journalist Gay Talese admits that a lot of his talent stems from his innate curiosity about his subjects, real or imagined. “I’m not creating anything. What I am doing is trying, as best I can, to befriend people, including people I’m interviewing or want to interview,” said Talese, who discussed his life and times with CUNY Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly as part of the Extraordinary Lives Series at the Graduate Center.

Exile and Instability for Refugees

October 9, 2013 | CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center

Two literary masters, Andre Aciman and Aleksander Hemon, discuss displacement, exile and memory at a Graduate Center event. “It’s so easy to expect that by virtue of being in the U.S. you have to be happy, but the transition is a traumatic experience,” says Hemon, a native of Bosnia, whose novel, “The Lazarus Project,” was […]

NYC’s Economy, Now and Tomorrow

October 2, 2013 | CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center

With the Bloomberg administration nearing an end, a panel at the Graduate Center reflected on the economic state of the city and its future. “New York has been very lucky to have had the creative economy,” says Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for Urban Future, while acknowledging that as crucial as the arts […]