The American Library in Paris, Columbia Global Centers | Paris, and the Institute for Ideas and Imagination are pleased to announce Entre Nous, an interdisciplinary series featuring conversations between scholars, journalists, and artists from around the world.
Inaugurated in September 2021, guest speakers join us virtually and in-person to explore topics ranging from climate change and the refugee crises, to the transcendental power of music and the art of contemporary storytelling.
Videos of the conversations will be available on the Paris Center's website and YouTube channel after the events.
APRIL 12, 2023 | Data's Human History with Matthew Jones and Chris Wiggins
The central question of the twenty-first century has become that of data. How is it gathered? How is it used? By whom and for whom? As society becomes increasingly digital, how can one opt out of the data machine, and in what ways are we all unwittingly opting in? Omnipresent and largely anonymous, data technology’s murky origins contribute to its near-mystical status. In new work How Data Happened, historians of science Chris Wiggins and Matthew Jones combat this opacity, revealing the fascinating and deeply political history of data. Considering economic, social, and diplomatic factors, Wiggins and Jones situate data within a matrix of states, companies, and individuals all seeking to transform knowledge into power.
JANUARY 19, 2023 | Such Sweet Thunder with Robert G. O'Meally and Courtney Bryan
Presented Robert G. O’Meally, Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. For the Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival of 1957, the American composers Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn created Such Sweet Thunder, a jazz concert honoring Shakespeare. This talk will examined scores and recordings of Duke and Strays’ dark bluesy “harlemizations” of certain Shakespearean scenes and characters. Ellington had said that Lady Mac, for example, “had a little ragtime in her soul.” The talk will also feature contemporary video responses to these richly vibrant materials by the award-winning composer Courtney Bryan.
NOVEMBER 29, 2022 | Thinking Translation with Gayatri Spivak and Emily Apter
What is translatable? How is meaning transferred across languages, and which pockets of signification slip away? What is the nature of this slippage? In her new work Living Translation, renowned theorist Gayatri Spivak approaches the comparative humanities as a site of translation, and reflects upon her long career in the field. Moving deftly between postcolonial, psychoanalytic, critical, and linguistic markers, Spivak operates at the borders of thought, illuminating translation as a theory of borders. Spivak spoke with philosopher and Living Translation editor Emily Apter about thinking, writing, and living in translation.
NOVEMBER 8, 2022 | Three Archives in Conversation with Joâo Pina, Mila Turajilić, and Lynnette Widder
Archives are imagined to be well-ordered places of safe-keeping; but most discoveries are made in unsuspected and unordered repositories of the past. Lynnette Widder, João Pina, and Mila Turajlić joined us to talk about their experiences with archives as a catalyst for their work – archives neglected by history, maintained by families, sequestered in institutions, left behind in unculled bequests.
MAY 30, 2022 | Anuk Arudpragasam and Colm Tóibín in Conversation
The first season of Entre Nous concluded with an evening of readings and exchanges between Colm Tóibín and Anuk Arudpragasam. The Magician, Tóibín's book on Thomas Mann, won the 2022 Rathbone Prize, and Arudpragasam's latest novel, A Passage North was shortlisted in 2022 for a Man Booker Prize.
APRIL 29, 2022 | Andrew Delbanco and Roosevelt Montàs on the Future of the Humanities
Are the humanities in crisis? Should students still read the canon? In his new book, Rescuing Socrates, Columbia University Professor Roosevelt Montás argues that the humanities must not relinquish its Great Books. In conversation with Columbia Professor Andrew Delbanco, the two will consider the challenges the humanities face, the ways they need to change, and what they offer in the contemporary age.
APRIL 19, 2022 | Helen Lewis and Christia Mercer on Alternative Narratives
Continuing her research on forgotten women, journalist Helen Lewis’ new radio program, Great Wives, looks at the spouses of history’s most famous geniuses. In a conversation with Christia Mercer, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, the two authors discuss their work on changing the historical record and seeking alternative narratives for the history of thought and action.
APRIL 4, 2022 | Stephen Greenblatt and James Shapiro on Shakespeare
From the collected works on Abraham Lincoln’s White House desk, to the Public Theater’s incendiary 2018 production of Julius Caesar, Shakespeare has long been adopted as the voice of the cultural moment. Stephen Greenblatt and James Shapiro, celebrated Shakespeare scholars, discuss the Bard in relation to the pandemic, racial justice, the climate crisis, arguing, in a moderated conversation, for Shakespeare’s role as an eternal mouthpiece of the present.
FEBRUARY 4, 2022 | Maboula Soumahoro and Kaiama Glover on Diaspora and Identity
Maboula Soumahoro, professor of African and Diaspora Studies at Université de Tours, speaks with Kaïama Glover, professor of French and Africana Studies at Barnard College, who recently translated Soumahoro's book Le Triangle et l'Hexagone (trans. Black is the Journey, Africana the Name), about the Black Atlantic Diaspora and its cultural and political influence in Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
JANUARY 23, 2022 | Elizabeth Kolbert on the Anthropocene
Elizabeth Kolbert joins us for a conversation inspired by her recent book Under a White Sky. Praised for the depth of its research and the clarity of its voice, the book details the irony of the Anthropocene: that human progress has brought unforeseen chains of disaster, and that our only possible hope may be to cause more damage than ever before.
DECEMBER 6, 2021 | Ian Goldin on a Better Future
In his book Rescue, Ian Goldin tackles the challenges and opportunities posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, ranging from globalisation to the future of jobs, income inequality and geopolitics, the climate crisis and the future of cities. Goldin provides an urgently needed roadmap that reveals how the pandemic could lead to a better world.
NOVEMBER 17, 2021 | Lauren Elkin and Lauren Collins, Notes on a Commute
Writers Lauren Elkin and Lauren Collins discuss Elkin’s recently published book, No. 91/92: notes on a Parisian commute. A love letter to Paris, the book is also a meditation on how the city has changed in two decades, evolving from the twentieth century into the twenty-first, from analog to digital.
OCTOBER 20, 2021 | Joyce Carol Oates and Joyce Maynard on Writing
Acclaimed writers Joyce Carol Oates and Joyce Maynard – in public conversation for the first time to mark the publication of the French translation of their latest books by Editions Philippe Rey – discuss the evolution of literary trends and politics over the years and what it means to be a woman writer now.
OCTOBER 5, 2021 | Alice Barbe and Dina Nayeri on Migration and Empathy
The first in-person event of the Entre Nous Series features Alice Barbe, co-founder of the international organization Singa, and Dina Nayeri, author The Ungrateful Refugee (2019), in a conversation on migration, empathy, engagement, and citizen mobilization.
SEPTEMBER 20, 2021 | Andrew Revkin, Kate Raworth, and Roman Krznaric on Climate Change and Global Inequality
What decisions can we make today as individuals and societies to create a better tomorrow? Watch Columbia Climate School's Andrew Revkin, economist Kate Raworth, and philosopher Roman Krznaric’s conversation on how reinventing economics and incorporating long-term thinking into our current policies can help us meet the challenges of climate breakdown and global inequality, and transform our world for future generations.