Power today is exercised mostly in the name of good. The purveyors of power, and its recipients, often construe its deployment as an act of benevolence, or at least of eventual improvement, if not salvation. Nermeen Shaikh is a producer at the independent news program, Democracy Now! Her talk will address why it is imperative to question the use of power even as its locus is dispersed, its intentions noble, its reach infinite, especially as we live in the only imperial state remaining, whose influence is felt, tangibly and less tangibly, all over the world. She will discuss contemporary news events (Syria, the NSA), as well as examples from other forms of storytelling (the novel, the film) to demonstrate how such questions can persistently be raised even, or perhaps especially, when they may appear unnecessary, futile or hopeless.
Nermeen Shaikh is a broadcast news producer and weekly co-host at Democracy Now! in New York City. She recently presented a TEDx talk in Budapest on the stories of dispossession underlying our civilization. She was previously managing editor at the Asia Society. She has interviewed hundreds of figures from the academic, foreign policy, business, activist, and arts communities. She has also worked at nonprofit organizations in London, Islamabad, and Tehran. She has an M.Phil. in politics from Cambridge University, and is the author of The Present as History: Critical Perspectives on Global Power published by Columbia University Press. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Rome-based journal Development.