Intellectual Commons event series

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Intellectual Commons

At a time when digital communications are growing, the need for direct interaction is all the more vital. At a time when MIT is building bridges across schools and disciplines, we can no longer operate primarily at the scale of micro-units. This reflects neither the interests of the new generation nor the nature of the problems that the world is leaving at our doorstep.

This series presents opportunities to explore ideas that reflect the values we hold in common. The vitality of the School—a community invested in shaping better commons for the world, from the environment to cities to public spaces and public art—is the extent in which we can exercise our collective imaginary.

—Hashim Sarkis

Spring 2020 event

February 21
Roberto Mangabeira Unger, with Jason Jackson and Hashim Sarkis
“Imagination in power: The mind, technology, the economy, democracy, and the city”
Bartos Theatre E15-070

A Brazilian philosopher and politician, Roberto Mangabeira Unger is a professor at Harvard Law School. He has developed his views and positions across many fields including legal theory, philosophy and religion, social and political theory, progressive alternatives, and economics. His latest book is The Knowledge Economy (Verso, 2019).  The talk will be followed by remarks from Jason Jackson, assistant professor of political economy and urban planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and SA+P Dean Hashim Sarkis.


Spring 2019 event

May 1
Keynote with Mary Robinson
“Climate Justice Can Help Secure a Good Future for All”
10 am
Bartos Theatre E15-070

Mary Robinson is a lawyer, politician, and climate justice advocate who served as president of Ireland (1990–97) and as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997–2002).

“The Frameworks negotiated by member states of the UN in 2015–the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement–appeared to be voluntary or weak in enforceability. Now, however, through the lens of climate justice, we can see that they are imperative frameworks for human survival. The challenge is to galvanise political will globally, and commit to transformative change which will leave no one behind.”

—Mary Robinson


Fall 2018 events

In Fall 2018, SA+P Dean Hashim Sarkis and Architecture's Mark Jarzombek hosted a series of talks and workshops organized under the theme Intellectual Commons. The series began on October 2 with a keynote lecture from Saskia Sassen titled, "Where and how is the Global constituted?" and was followed by workshops on October 9 and November 15 with faculty from the School, moderated by Sassen and Jarzombek.

October 2
Keynote with Saskia Sassen
"Where and how is the Global constituted?"
6:30 pm

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and a member of its Committee on Global Thought, which she chaired until 2015. She is a student of cities, immigration, and states in the world economy, with inequality, gendering, and digitization three key variables running though her work. Sassen has authored eight books and is the editor or co-editor of three books.

October 9
6 pm
Long Lounge


Mark Jarzombek

Panel discussion moderated by Saskia Sassen and Mark Jarzombek
Rania Ghosn (Architecture)
Jason Jackson (DUSP)
Gabriella Carolini (DUSP)
Arindam Dutta (Architecture/HTC)

November 15
6 pm
City Arena, 9-255


Mark Jarzombek

Panel discussion moderated by Saskia Sassen and Mark Jarzombek
Ethan Zuckerman (Media Lab)
Nasser Rabbat (Architecture/HTC)
Brent Ryan (DUSP)
Janelle Knox-Hayes (DUSP)