Language and Culture Institute

Salon Series

Fall 2020

Identity & Justice:

Teacher: A. Protopappas
Thursdays: 3:30-5:30 p.m. 

Our 10-week Salon Series (a true Pilates of the Mind!) will take place online this fall, starting the week of October 15 and ending the week of December 18. It will focus on the following theme:
Identity & Justice: Who are We as a Nation, and What Makes a Nation?
The crisis of Covid-19 sent global shock waves across nations that fundamentally altered and redefined the meaning of health, safety and freedom.  By laying bare unresolved injuries from the past and exposing major fault lines in national solidarity and social cohesiveness, the rippling effects of Covid-19 have intensified national conversations about: national identity, freedom of speech, and symbols of public remembrance; the contested role of governments and the rule of law; the meaning of protection through law enforcement, the use of force and digital surveillance as well as the role of social contracts to address and counter disenfranchisement.
Using the lenses of freedom of expression, electoral systems, racial, gender and socio-economic identities, and criminal justice to name a few, we will leverage cross-cultural comparisons as effective protocols to carve “safe and brave space” and trace how varying responses to the virus have revealed different conceptions of nation and governance.  Themes of discussion will include:
  • Gender and Politics: New Zealand’s handling of Covid-19; the case for US presidential and vice-presidential female candidates; the French model of gender Parité
  • How relevant and exportable is the concept of “white privilege” to address post-colonial and post-slavery legacies within and outside the US?
  • Can material reparations be a substitute for a broader framework of restorative justice?  
  • US electoral system in comparative perspectives: the resilience of disenfranchisement
  • African American and homosexual exiles in Paris from Gertrude Stein to Genêt, Langston Hugues, Richard Wright, James Baldwin and Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Identity & freedom of speech: French Algerian Kamel Daoud and Paris-based African-American Thomas Chatterton’s (author of Unlearning Race) critique of “Cancel Culture”
  • First Amendment conundrum: protecting the speech that we hate or protecting hate speech?
  • Truth, trust, faith & facts and the fight against Covid-19: suspicion versus rational doubt
  • Law enforcement versus the rule of law:  How to tame violence in America?
Class materials will include an interdisciplinary selection of hot-off-the press publications, films and documentaries as well as essential literary, artistic and scholarly references.     
Our Salon Series values multiple perspectives and upholds the historical tradition of disenfranchised and oppressed groups (women, African-Americans and homosexuals) who engaged in the life of the mind to fight for social recognition and universal rights.  It fulfills the threefold mission of the Culture & Language Institute: Open the mind; Transcend Prejudice; Better Understand One’s Culture through Appreciating Others.

Fees and Class Size

$550 for all participants for a 10-week cycle

Class size is limited to 20 students, and a minimum of four students is required for the class to be offered.