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Cultural Reporting and Criticism in the 21st Century

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Jan. 29 2018, Published 7:00 p.m. ET

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The stories we tell today about our era of uncertainty and transformation will not only contribute to the shape of tomorrow but also will create the record that future historians will look to when studying our time. How writers see today’s events and how they choose to relate them are subjects for enduring exploration. What are the national events worth covering, the global picture that needs rendering, the perceived consequences of what is happening at the present moment? Sam Tanenhaus, the former editor of The New York Times Book Review, moderates conversations featuring contributors to some of America’s greatest and most enduring publications: The New York Review of BooksThe New Yorker, and The New York Times.

For the third program, "Cultural Reporting and Criticism in the 21st Century," Tanenhaus will speak with New York Times journalists Parul SeghalA. O. Scott, and Jennifer Schuessler. The turbulence of 2017 was an assault on our senses and our powers of attention: sociopolitical scandals of endless variety seemed to break by the minute; the torrents of partisanship and political gridlock rose to a mind-numbing cacophony; and our relationships to celebrity, art, media, and entertainment were thrown into new states of confusion as the ranks of exposed sexual harassers, abusers, and predators continued to swell. As we ride that wave into 2018, we ask these writers how these seismic shifts in American life have caused them to reassess the urgency and purpose of cultural criticism.

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