Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College Hosts 14th Annual International Conference on “Rage and Reason: Democracy Under the Tyranny of Social Media,” October 13–14
Participants Include Author Pankaj Mishra, Political and Sociological Theorist William Davies, CEO at PEN America Suzanne Nossel, Political Scientist Uday Mehta, Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen, and Afghan Writer Jamil Jan KochaiANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Hannah Arendt saw that in the face of hypocritical quasi-rational structures of power, rage can often appear to be “the only way to set the scales of justice right again.” The real source of rage, Arendt understood, is a sense of powerlessness born of “a much deeper hatred of bourgeois society.” Rage can seem righteous just as today rage against immigrants, white people, and experts is justified by those crusaders who argue that in an unjust and hypocritical system, rage is necessary for radical political change. Such collective rage may inspire virtues of courage, loyalty, and meaning; but the virtues of rage come at a cost: It is the disintegration of the common sense and common viewpoints that unites us beyond our political, racial, class, and sexual identities. We are witnessing, once again, the retreat of reason and the return of rage as a key driver of political and social relations. At a moment when materially comfortable societies are teetering and the visceral attraction of tribalism is rising all around us, we must ask how our liberal democracies can survive and thrive amidst intensifying partisanship and the decline of public reason. While social media is not to blame for the rage that is ravishing our society, the algorithms that drive social media do allow emotional and angry opinions to spread with unprecedented vigor and vitality.
Presented by OSUN, Hannah Arendt Center, and Center for Civic Engagement, the Hannah Arendt Center Conference “Rage and Reason” responds to the undeniable fact that rage and emotions are increasingly a force in our political and cultural lives. The conference asks: How can democratic rage be harnessed in social and political movements? Is rage essential to call out systemic and ingrained injustice? How can a politics of rage acknowledge rational and expert authority? If humans are tribal beings, how can they live in multicultural liberal societies? Are experts and elites themselves simply one tribe defending their self-interests? Must social media contribute to the fracturing of society into raging tribes? Is there a common interest in society knowable through reason? Above all, how can we uphold our liberal institutions and our common world in the midst of the polarization and fracturing of that world?
The two-day conference takes place on Thursday, October 13 and Friday, October 14 in Olin Hall, on Bard’s Annandale-on-Hudson campus. Register here.
ALL registrants are REQUIRED to upload proof of vaccination and booster. The full conference will be available via Live Webcast. During registration, you will be asked to choose between attending in-person or virtually via the live webcast. In-person attendees will also receive the link to the live webcast. Online registration will close on Monday, September 26, 2022.
For the conference schedule, click here.
For more information, please visit hac.bard.edu/rage-and-reason-democracy-under-the-tyranny-of-social-media.
Featured speakers include:
Roger Berkowitz, Founder and Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College; Leon Botstein, President of Bard College since 1975, where he is also the Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities; Myisha Cherry, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside; Mike Cosper, writer and podcast producer, and the Senior Director of Podcasts at Christianity Today; William Davies, Professor of Political Economy at Goldsmiths, University of London; Nicholas Dunn, Klemens von Klemperer Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College; Frances Haugen, advocate for accountability and transparency in social media; Catherine Holland, Director of Political Analysis at the Center for Social Computation; Mie Inouye, Assistant Professor of political theory at Bard College; Jamil Jan Kochai, Afghan writer; Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger: A History of the Present (2017) among numerous other works; Uday Singh Mehta, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center and the 2022 Yehuda Elkana Fellow (awarded by Central European University and the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College); Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer at PEN America and author of Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All; Colin Megill, cofounder of pol.is and President of The Computational Democracy Project; Dylan Sparks, Bard student majoring in Global and International Studies; Allison Stanger, Russell Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics at Middlebury College; and Thomas Chatterton Williams, author of Losing My Cool and Self-Portrait in Black and White.
Arendt Center conferences are attended by nearly a thousand people and reach an international audience via live webcast. Past speakers have included maverick inventor Ray Kurzweil; whistleblower Edward Snowden; irreverent journalist Christopher Hitchens; businessman Hunter Lewis; authors Teju Cole, Zadie Smith, Masha Gessen, and Claudia Rankine; Wall Street Journal columnist Walter Russell Mead; and political activist and presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Previous conferences have explored citizenship and disobedience, crises of democracy, the intellectual roots of the economic crisis, the future of humanity in an age increasingly dominated by technology, the crisis in American education, and American exceptionalism.
About Bard College
Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year, residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City. With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1,000 parklike acres in the Hudson River Valley. It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in more than 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 13 programs; eight early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on its 162-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal arts education. The undergraduate program at our main campus in upstate New York has a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement. Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders. For more information about Bard College, visit bard.edu.
Bard Press Contact:Mark Primoff
Recent Press Releases:
- Bard College Receives $25 Million Endowment Gift from Gochman Family Foundation Supporting Renamed American and Indigenous Studies Program
- $3.2 Million Given to Bard College Endowing Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism in Perpetuity
- Bard College Professor Daniel Mendelsohn Wins Italy’s Prestigious 2022 Malaparte Prize
- Bard Physics Professor Clara Sousa-Silva Coauthors New Research on How the James Webb Space Telescope Impacts Our Understanding of Planetary Atmospheres