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A Night of Philosophy & Ideas

Brooklyn Public Library

Contact Name: Lisa Rosenblum,
Type of Initiative:  Tenets of Democracy 
Community Partners: The Cultural Services of the French Embassy; Trisha Brown Dance Company; Propsect Park Alliance


Brooklyn Public Library and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy hosted an all-night marathon of philosophical debate, performances, film screenings, readings and music at Brooklyn’s historic Central Library. More than 7,000 people attended the event to engage with philosophers, and with each other, in conversations about the most difficult issues of our time. The evening featured lectures led by some of the world’s foremost philosophers and critics, including Gaytari Spivak’s “Borders in Today’s World,” Jeanne Proust’s “On the Urgent Need for Critical Thinking,” and a keynote address from Cameroonian philosopher Achille Mbembe on the future of democracy. Hundreds of community members participated in hours-long marathon readings of de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and Alain Badiou’s Plato’s Republic, while others donned virtual reality visors to experience Notes on Blindness, an exercise in understanding and empathy. A Night of Philosophy & Ideas provided New Yorkers the space to do their best thinking, in the company of some of the world’s best thinkers.