Lisa Servon’s New York Times OP-ED Looks At The Cost of Using Banks

lisaLisa Servon is a Professor of Urban Policy at The New School, but has worked briefly at Check Center and RiteCheck in the South Bronx to better understand why so many people are using check cashers and payday lenders, prepaid cards, and lending and savings circles instead of banks.  In the OP-ED Servon highlights the staggering number of Americans that are “unbanked”, nearly 25 million.  Another 68 million Americans are “underbanked”, meaning they have bank accounts but also rely on alternative financial services such as payday loans and prepaid cards.


The problem, according to Servon’s piece, “is not that people are unbanked, but that banks are becoming too prohibitively expensive for people to use them”.  The fees and charges associated with formal banking services often deter people from using their services and in some cases the barrier to entry is too great for America’s low-income population to access.

Prof. Nina Khrushcheva on Russians in Hollywood and US-Russia Politics

Professor Nina Khrushcheva follows how Russians are portrayed in American pop culture and especially in film.  She was recently cited in a BBCnina article, Hollywood stereotypes: Why are Russians the bad guys? which highlights the use of stereotypes that have made Russians out to be the “bad guys” since the Cold War era.  Her own articles on the subject include: As if things weren’t Badenov: Even in good times, Russians are villains in Hollywood, and Putin face-off: Make Schwarzenegger our man in Moscow. In them she discusses how Russians have been portrayed as villians in Hollywood movies over time and why Arnold Schwarzenegger should have become a US Ambassador to Moscow.

Action movie villains are often former KGB agents or Russian mobsters and this trend has not changed much since the height of US-Russian tensions and shows no sign of changing in the near future.  Nina notes that “you can’t even turn the TV on and go to the movies without reference to Russians as horrible”.

This is not to say that other races, ethnicities and nationalities have had their moments of playing the villain.  Since 9/11 Arabs have increasingly been portrayed as the evil doer in American cinema and historically speaking, Germans and Japanese were the “bad guys”, especially around WWII.

Movies have the power to influence powerful figures, even heads of state.  Nina states that “Vladimir Putin has been significantly influenced by Hollywood’s parade of evil Russians.  “He moved into that villainous image that was presented by Hollywood of Russia or Russian leaders. He watched all those movies. He was like, ‘Well you’re going to portray me as a villain anyway, so I might as well go and start biting off other parts from other countries.’”

Related to this topic, Professor Nina Khrushcheva’s exhibition Romancing True Power will open on February 12, 2015 at Pasons’ Arnold and Sheila Aronson Gallery, 66 Fifth Avenue. The workshop will address the relationship between those who hold political power and the power of their films around the globe.

Stay tuned for news and updates on the show and possible workshop on Dictators as Directors in Spring 2015.

Please contact Yiqing Wang ( if you are interested in the Parsons show and/or the workshop.


OCM Student Samantha Goldman Publishes Piece on 2014 Elections

SBG 1 headshotSamantha Goldman, an Organizational Change Management student, published a piece related to campaign elections and organizational culture which was also part of her Advanced Seminar project.  The article, which appeared in, “identified 10 key aspects of campaign culture that can be applied in non-campaign organizations as a way to amp-up staff engagement”.  Samantha highlights the differences between a campaign and an organization, the former not necessarily sustainable due to its inherent time-bound characteristics and the latter whose mission is to be structurally and financially sustainable over the long term.  However, the two also have many aspects in common such as having a singular mission and vision, capacity building, relying on stories and narratives and more.

Urban Policy Alumna Heather Sheridan Advocates for Maryland’s Homeless as Director of Homeless Services

Heather SheridanHeather Sheridan is a graduate of the M.A program in Urban Policy Analysis and Management at The New School. She has extensive experience in working on programs that address the needs of formerly homeless and low-income residents. Prior to Milano the foundation of her career was in community organizing and public policy work on a number of issues affecting low-income communities around the nation.  Upon graduation from The New School she began working with Common Ground, a successful supportive housing developer in New York City. Most recently, Heather has taken a position as the Director of Homeless Services with the Department of Human Resources for the State of Maryland.



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Professor L.H.M. Ling Draws Connections Between Ebola and Ferguson on Huffington Post

LIiyIn an article posted to the Huffington Post website last Tuesday, GPIA professor L.H.M. Ling confronts multiple current events in answering the question, “What does Ebola have to do with Ferguson and ISIS?

Professor Ling is the faculty supervisor of The Global Intimate (also known as the Silk Road Research Initiative), a student research collective that explores alternative and holistic approaches to international relations theory. Ling’s article connects an ethos of difference without alienation drawn from the ancient Silk Roads and applies it to contemporary realities such as Ebola, Ferguson and ISIS.
 The Global Intimate currently has an IndieGoGo campaign to help “Re-imagine World Politics,” and can also be found on Facebook.

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