Position: Distinguished Professor
Campus Affiliation: Graduate Center
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D. European intellectual history, Georgetown University
Research Interests: Critical theory, philosophy of history, trans-local global commons
Professor Buck-Morss is a trans-disciplinary scholar whose political theory emerges out of a constellation of historical material, visual images, and contemporary events. She is a core faculty member of the Graduate Center’s Committee on Globalization and Social Change. Her most recent book, Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009), won the Frantz Fanon Prize Book Prize in 2011. Her book, Thinking Past Terror: Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left(Verso, 2003), has been translated into Hebrew, Urdu, Spanish, Japanese, and Greek. Research for her book Dreamworld and Catastrophe: The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West (MIT Press, 2000) was funded by awards from the MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Fulbright program. Her early studies on the Frankfurt School are Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (MIT Press, 1989) and The Origin of Negative Dialectics: Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin,and the Frankfurt School (Free Press, 1979).
A longtime professor at Cornell University’s Department of Government, Buck-Morss was also a member of Cornell’s graduate fields in Comparative Literature, History of Art and Visual Culture, German Studies, and the School of Architecture, Art, and Planning. She lectures and collaborates worldwide on the editorial boards of several journals and has been an invited lecturer at dozens of universities worldwide. Her numerous international awards and fellowships include a Getty Scholar grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She holds an M.A. degree from Yale University, studied at the Frankfurt Institut für Sozialforschung, and received her Ph.D. in European intellectual history from Georgetown University. Her website is susanbuckmorss.info.
Susan Buck-Morss, Year 1: A Philosophical Recounting (MIT Press, 2021).
Reclaiming the first century as common ground rather than the origin of deeply entrenched differences: liberating the past to speak to us in another way.
Conventional readings of antiquity cast Athens against Jerusalem, with Athens standing in for “reason” and Jerusalem for “faith.” And yet, Susan Buck-Morss reminds us, recent scholarship has overturned this separation. Naming the first century as a zero point—“year one”—that divides time into before and after is equally arbitrary, nothing more than a convenience that is empirically meaningless. In YEAR 1, Buck-Morss liberates the first century so it can speak to us in another way, reclaiming it as common ground rather than the origin of deeply entrenched differences.