Global Sustainability Summer School
Nina Rismal is an economist and political philosopher interested in social change. She studied at SOAS, Oxford, and Cambridge, where she wrote her doctoral dissertation in defense of utopias. Before joining the New Institute in 2018, Nina spent a year as a fellow at The New Institute’s Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She attended Global Sustainability Summer School (GSSS) in 2019. Follow Nina on Twitter here.
Briefly describe your primary research/academic work or other professional work.
My academic interests span across continental political philosophy to future, utopian and transformation studies. I often reach back for concepts coined by different German philosophers, such as G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx and Ernst Bloch, to understand better contemporary political and social phenomena. I move between disciplines - politics, philosophy, sociology, economics, literature. As long as they help me in answering my main question of interest - how societies change over time and how we can bring these theoretical insights also practice – I am happy to belong to each of them.
In what ways does the study of complexity science influence your thinking about your current work?
Through complexity science I continuously come across concepts and other analytical devices that help to structure my thinking about social dynamics but not by restricting it. What I find very fascinating about this field is that is seems infinitely stretchable and adaptable to new perspectives and phenomena.
How did your experience at GSSS impact your professional (or personal) perspective?
The Global Sustainability Summer School I attended in July 2019 was an intensive and inspiring learning experience. It showed me just how productive true collaborations between academics and policy makers can be, which is an activity that I am developing also in my current work at the New Institute, specifically through a programme that is concerned with local and regional economic transformation. I am certain I will be reaching out for advice to my colleagues from GSSS, once we move a few steps ahead with that programme at our Institute.
What interests do you have that might surprise your colleagues?
In becoming a patisserie chef? An ultramarathon runner? Both at the same time?
This interview was conducted in August of 2020