LIVE from NYPL: Ta-Nehisi Coates and Timothy Snyder: Ill Fares the Land

Event Details

Friends and admirers discuss Tony Judt and the reissue of his classic 2010 polemic.

We are excited to welcome audiences back to in-person gatherings in our new programming space at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (on 5th Avenue and 40th Street), as well as in the iconic Stephen A Schwarzman building. This season we will also host virtual offerings, and in an effort to create even more access, many of our in-person programs will be livestreamed. Because we are committed to gathering safely, we have implemented a series of health and safety protocols. Please review those below, and learn more here.

Book jacket for Ill Fares The Land

“Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today,” proclaimed Tony Judt in 2010. The historian and professor described America as an “eviscerated society…the thick mesh of social goods has been reduced to a minimum, with nothing except authority and obedience” connecting citizens to the state. “We have entered an age of insecurity,” he wrote. “Economic insecurity, physical insecurity, political insecurity…Insecurity breeds fear. And fear—fear of change, fear of decline, fear of strangers and an unfamiliar world—is corroding the trust and interdependence on which civil societies rest.”

Tony Judt died in 2010. His friend and collaborator Timothy Snyder as well as his longtime admirer Ta-Nehisi Coates discuss the enduring power of his work and the renewed resonance of his words amid the pandemic.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates recommends these titles for further reading: Timothy Snyder recommends these titles for further reading:


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is an award-winning author and journalist. He is the author of the bestselling books The Beautiful Struggle, We Were Eight Years in Power, The Water Dancer, and Between the World and Me, which won the National Book Award in 2015. He was a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship that same year. As a journalist with a career spanning over two decades, he’s written for numerous publications including The Washington City Paper, The Village Voice, The New Yorker and The New York Times. During his time reporting for The Atlantic between 2008-2018, he penned numerous articles and essays, including the National Magazine Award-winning 2012 essay Fear of a Black President and the influential June 2014 essay The Case For Reparations. Ta-Nehisi also enjoyed a successful run writing Marvel’s Black Panther (2016-2021) and Captain America (2018-2021) comics series. Ta-Nehisi is currently writing the screenplays for the upcoming films Wrong Answer, Superman and the film adaptation of his first fiction novel, The Water Dancer. In the fall of 2022, he will join Howard University’s faculty as a writer-in-residence and the Sterling Brown Chair in the Department of English.

Professor Timothy Snyder was educated at Brown and Oxford and held postdocs at Harvard before joining Yale University’s faculty, where he is the Levin Professor of History and Global Affairs. He is also a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. His historical work concerns central and eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and the Holocaust. He has also written on U.S. history, international relations, health care, digital politics, and political thought. His fifteen books, which include Bloodlands and Black Earth, have been translated into more than forty languages and have received a similar number of awards. He holds state orders and honorary doctorates, and has appeared in documentaries, on television, and in films. His writing has inspired poster exhibitions, sculpture, a punk rock song, a rap song, films, a play, and an opera. His pamphlet On Tyranny is quoted in demonstrations around the world. In 2021, he introduced the terms “big lie” and “memory laws” into the American political and legal discussion. He is finishing a philosophical book about freedom.



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