6:30 p.m.

Each year an inaugural lecture launches the Vera List Center’s annual theme, defining the intellectual territory that the center will explore in public programs. This year’s theme is Branding Democracy. The lecturer introduces the theme in the broadest sense, serving as a guide to the range and richness of the topic at hand and rooting the concept within The New School’s intellectual tradition. In keeping with this political moment, this year's inaugural lecturer, Simon Critchley, will now approach the subject of democracy through the current presidential elections and focus on one of the candidates. The lecture entitled "Barack Obama and the American Void,” will examine Obama's subjectivity, the existential detachment that seems to haunt him, and its relation to democracy.  Critchley is a professor of philosophy, at The New School for Social Research and at University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom. His research focuses on the history of philosophy, literature, ethics, and politics.  Sponsored by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics.A complementary art and design exhibition, “Ours: Democracy in the Age of Branding,” will run from October 15 through January 30 at the Kellen Gallery in the Sheila Johnson Design Center, 2 West 13th Street. Co-produced by Parsons The New School for Design and the Vera List Center, this show includes video, photography, sound, sculpture, and information maps, as well as lectures, performances, and participatory events that happen in a “democratic structure” designed by British artist Liam Gillick.

Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor

$8; free to all students and New School faculty, staff, and alumni with ID

Box Office Information:

Single event purchases can be made online at any time at the New School Box Office. Series and discounted tickets must still be made in person or over the phone at The New School Box Office at 66 West 12th Street, main floor, Monday-Thursday 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., and Friday 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. The box office opens the first day of classes and closes after the last paid event of each semester. Reservations and inquiries can be made by emailing boxoffice@newschool.edu or calling 212.229.5488.

For events scheduled during the summer term, the box office will open one hour before each event.