Social Research conference series

The Social Research conference series, initiated in 1988 by Professor Arien Mack, aims to enhance public understanding and influence ongoing debates about current social and political issues and to amplify the public voice of the Social Research journal. Because we present our themes in their broad historical and cultural contexts, speakers at these conferences come from a wide range of disciplines with many different perspectives and kinds of expertise: historians, social scientists, natural scientists, and art historians routinely participate alongside legal theorists, policy makers, and journalists.

Public scholarship includes not only the media, the academy, and political leaders, but all who understand the urgency of an issue and wish to learn more—whether to influence public policy, educate others, or simply be more informed citizens. Therefore, the general public is invited to Social Research conferences to participate in the dialogue on critical and contested issues. The result is a unique atmosphere and a vibrant discussion that reaches beyond the walls of the university.

We also host smaller public events. We sometimes have evening launch events for Social Research issues that feature authors or speakers inspired by the issue theme. We also host an annual Public Voices lecture, which provides a platform for distinguished public persons to address the most pressing issues of the day.

Remember, you can friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @NewSchoolCPS, and watch event videos on our You Tube channel.


Our distinguished keynote speakers have included philosopher Charles Taylor, Vice President Al Gore, Nobel laureate Arno Penzias, novelist Amitav Ghosh, and investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. The following is a partial list of conference speakers:

Arjun Appadurai
Elliot Aronson
Shlomo Avineri
Robert M. Berdahl
Kurt Biedenkopf
Jamshed Bharucha
Akeel Bilgrami
Lawrence D. Bobo
Breyton Breytenbach
Craig Calhoun
Juan Cole
Frans de Waal
Olivier De Schutter
Daniel C. Dennett
Wendy Doniger
John Eatwell
John Edwards
M. Joycelyn Elders
Yehuda Elkana
Daniel Ellsberg
William Foege
Peter Galison
Richard Gere

Amitav Ghosh
Richard Goldstone
Matthew Goldstein
Al Gore
Kurt Gottfried
Stephen Jay Gould
Philip Gourevitch
Hanna Holborn Gray
Glenn Greenwald
Ian Hacking
Bernard E. Harcourt
Seymour M. Hersh
Richard Holbrooke
John Hollander
Stephen Holmes
Michael Ignatieff
George Kateb
Ira Katznelson
Bob Kerrey
János Kis
Neal Lane
Joshua Lederberg
Joe LeDoux

Lawrence Lessig
Carey Lowell
Avishai Margalit
Anthony W. Marx
Marc Mauer
Louis Menand
Theodor Meron
Jonathan Miller
Marvin Minsky
George Mitchell
Roy Mottahedeh
Michael Naumann
Aryeh Neier
Marion Nestle
Sari Nusseibeh
Charles Ogletree
Michael Oppenheimer
Orlando Patterson
Arno Penzias
Samantha Power
Kenneth Prewitt
Enrico L. Quarantelli

Anthony Quinton
David Rieff
Anthony Romero
Kenneth Roth
Paul Rozin
Jacques Rupnik
Alan Ryan
András Sajó
Simon Schama
Jonathan Schell
Ian Shapiro
Fritz Stern
Lawrence Stone
Cass Sunstein
Charles Taylor
Lewis Thomas
Sidney Verba
Charles M. Vest
Patricia Wald
Michael Walzer
Bernard Williams
Frederick Wiseman
Robert Zimmer

From privacy, to religious liberty to academic freedom, Social Research provides a comprehensive and keen analysis of the most important challenges facing our society.
Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union


For some of our conferences, we initiate multi-institutional collaborations that expand the conference theme by bringing new perspectives from the collaborating institutions' public lectures, tours, and exhibits. Institutions that have collaborated on Social Research conferences include

Academy of American Poets
American Academy in Berlin
American Civil Liberties Union
Asia Society
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
Brooklyn Children's Museum
Central European University
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
El Museo del Barrio
Getty Information Institute
James Beard Foundation

Japan Society
The Jewish Museum
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museum for African Art
The New York Academy of Medicine
New-York Historical Society
Open Society Institute
PEN American Center
The Morgan Library & Museum
Scholar Rescue Fund
The Studio Museum in Harlem
Women's Learning Partnership

Attendance and Publication 

Social Research conferences typically draw audiences of 500 to 1,000 people representing a cross-section of the local, national, and sometimes the international community—students, academics, nonprofit leaders, government officials, policy makers, activists, scientists, and the general public. 

To ensure maximum exposure, papers delivered at the conferences are published in special issues of Social Research: An International Quarterly, which reaches approximately 2,000 subscribers in more than 50 countries around the world. Conference issues of Social Research and individual articles are regularly used in university classrooms, and some issues have been republished as books. Audio recordings of some conferences are available on CD, and videos of keynote addresses are sometimes streamed online. 


Every conference in this series relies on external funding and at times on internal New School funding as well. Outside funders have included

Arcus Foundation
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Caroline Williams
Continental Grain Foundation
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Earth Pledge Foundation
Edna McConnell Clark Foundation
The Engineering Foundation
The Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund, Inc. Ford Foundation
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
German Information Center
The Howard Gilman Foundation
Institute of International Education

Interval Research Corporation
The J.M. Kaplan Fund
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
John Templeton Foundation
National Endowment for the Humanities
Open Society Institute
Organic Commodity Project
Robert Boehm
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Rockefeller Financial Services
The Rockefeller Foundation
Russell Sage Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

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