NYC Summer school 2019

A tuition free summer school by the University of the Underground with the collaboration, support and help from The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College, Overthrown Boxing Club, The School for Poetic Computation, UNICEF and UN Global Compact


‘To act is to begin something new, that is action’ said Hannah Arendt, one of the greatest, controversial thinkers and political theorist of all time who passed away in 1975. Amongst many others, she coined the concept of the ‘banality of evil’ while identifying the mechanics of totalitarianism regimes in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism.

‘POST-NATION STATES’, a 4-week long summer tuition-free summer school programme in New York City, takes inspiration from Hannah Arendt and her urge to develop platforms for pluralistic thinking in our contemporary societies which are seeing a resurgence in authoritarian regimes. In this summer school, the university known as the ‘University of the Underground’ in collaboration with the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College with support from Overthrown Boxing Club, The School for Poetic Computation, UNICEF and UN Global Compact, invite 15 international activists, magicians, philosophers, musicians, visionaries, nightlife artists, community supporters and makers of worlds to develop, write, design, and perform reenactments on the history of the United Nations (i.e. the establishment of nation- states) as a means to reveal power structures and histories and to offer a reflection on politics.

At the start of their investigation, participants are tasked to use sports, poetry, music and dramaturgy, the architecture of diplomacy, voguing and independent publishing as sources of inspiration. Their final performances and experiences will be presented to diplomats themselves.

Through their interventions, participants will bring new perspectives and reflections to bear on the past, present and future of the United Nations as they will be visiting the nerve centre of international affairs. The goal being to activate new models for politics using theatrical, musical, and other experiential practices as a means to achieve this.

You can see the works developed accross the programme by the students here:

University of the Underground NYC Programme students:

Andriana Lagoudes (CYPRUS)

Joel Teskey (UK)


Ibrahim Cisse (GAMBIA/ FRANCE)

Zana Masombuka (SOUTH AFRICA)

Mariana Saramago (BRAZIL)

Max Haarich (GERMANY)


Denisse Mendoza Jaimes (MEXICO)

Maxwell Chen (USA)


Lawrence Wang (USA)

Yun Pei Hsiung (TAIWAN)

Ehsam Ullah Baig (PAKISTAN)

A programme lead by Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun

Associate Lecturers:

-Dr. Samantha Hill, Assistant Director of the Hannah Arendt Center and Visiting Assistant Professor of Politics at Bard College, and Associate Faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research
-Joseph Goodwin, CEO Overthrown boxing
-Brian Murphy, Chief of Operations, Overthrown boxing
-Dr. Annie Seaton On poetics and ancient greeks
-Dr. Nandini Thiyagarajan  Faculty Fellow in the Animal Studies Initiative at New York University
-Prof. Jillian Cavanaugh Professor and Department Chairperson Anthropology and Archaeology at Brooklyn College
-Prof. Dale Jamieson, professor of Environmental Studies,
-Billy Dean Thomas Hip Hop performer
-Dr. Samantha Hill, Associate Director, Hannah Arendt Centre
-Angelica Gustilo Ong – UNICEF visit
-Leticia Cartier Oxley Biography Programme Associate of GenSpace
-Hector Roca, boxing trainer
-Bruce Silverglade, CEO Gleason’s gym
-Stephen Schlesinger, American author, political commentator, and international affairs specialist. Former Director of the World Policy Institute at the New School
-Lilli Barrett O’Keefe, program manager at streetfootballworld; founder of Play Pround which focuses on LGBTQ+ youth inclusion in football.
-David Goldblatt, Sports writer, broadcaster, sociologist, journalist and author. Among his books are The Games: A Global History of the Olympics
-Prof. Roger Berkowitz, Founder and Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center
-Sulu LeoNimm, Joker and Program Director at TONYC (theater of the Opressed)
-Dr. Micah White, activist and author, co-creator, and the only American creator, of the original idea for the Occupy Wall Street protests; former editor of Adbusters magazine, the anti-consumerism magazine that originally called for Occupy Wall Street.
-Zach Lieberman, co-ounder School for Poetic Computation; co-founder of openFrameworks
-Caleb Giles, saxophonist for experimental jazz and hip-hop collective Standing On The Corner, producer, producer and rapper, XL recordings.
-Len Elmore, former NBA player, lawyer and sport broadcaster
-Mark Greenfield, Faux-Real Artistic Director, Greek tragedy director
-Prof. Arjun Appadurai, author, former provost of the New School, Professor of Anthropology and Globalisation at the Hertie School.
– Andrea Lipps, senior curator Cooper Hewitt museum
– Prof Noam Chomsky, linguist, activist, author
-Prof. Jillian Cavanaugh, Professor and Department Chairperson, Brooklyn college Anthropology and Archaeology
-Cesar Valentino – Dancer, vogue artist, Director; part of the Benny Ninja Academy
-Vere Van Gool, Curator Ideas City, New Museum
-Jason Quinones, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe
-Cesar Valentino – Dancer, Designer, Director
-Matt Selman- Executive producer, the Simpsons
-Laura Poitras-  Academy Award winning director of Citizen Four, Journalist
-Carolyn Knowles, Executive Officer, NASA, Office of Education. Chair of the Space Education and Outreach community at the International Astronautical Congress, NASA
-James E. Stahlman Director, Domestic CBRN Response, Preparedness Policy and Exercises Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Homeland Defense Integration and Defense Support for Civil Authorities , PENTAGON
-Lucas Mascatello, co founder of independent fanzine and newspaper Civilization
-Michael Bierut, Pentagram partner
-Paola Antonelli, senior Curator MOMA
-Suzanne Lee, founder biofabricate, Senior TED fellow
-Amy Congdon, Head of Design Intelligence at Biofabricate
-Sandrine Gigon, permanent observer Office of the Inter Parliamentary Union at the United Nations