Stephen Duncombe, an associate professor at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, will address the question “Is Political Spectacle Compatible with Democracy?” at an April 18 (7 p.m.) lecture, sponsored by NYU’s Deutsches Haus (42 Washington Mews [at University Place]). The event is free and open to the public. Please call 212.998.8663 for more information. Reporters interested in attending the event should contact James Devitt, NYU’s Office of Public Affairs, at 212.998.6808 or

When one thinks of political spectacle, images from Nazi rallies at Nuremberg, parading missiles through Red Square, or George W. Bush’s orchestrated jet fighter landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln come to mind. Spectacle, it seems, is the property of Fascism and totalitarianism. Liberal democracies, on the other hand, are built upon reason and rationality. Is political spectacle compatible with democracy? Can it help constitute a thinking, engaged, and critical citizenry? Duncombe believes so, drawing on the work of philosopher Walter Benjamin and poet Bertolt Brecht and from contemporary political examples. In his lecture, Duncombe outlines the contours of what an ethical spectacle might look like today. His latest book, Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy, is forthcoming in winter 2006-07.

  • WHO: Stephen Duncombe, NYU Professor, author of Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy (forthcoming)
  • WHAT: Lecture
  • WHEN: Tues., April 18, 7 p.m.
  • WHERE: NYU’s Deutsches Haus, 42 Washington Mews (at University Place) [Subway Lines: Subway Lines: N, R, W (8th Street); 6 (Astor Place)]

EDITOR’S NOTE: Located in a 19th-century mews building in the heart of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, New York University’s Deutsches Haus organizes a broad cultural program designed to create a bridge between contemporary Germany and the U.S. Conferences, workshops, and lectures attract not only students and professors from all disciplines but also members of the surrounding community whose intellectual curiosity inspires them to learn more about German-speaking countries, their relationship to the USA and the changing world.

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