Jessica Helfand + Noreen Khawaja | The Self-Reliance Project

On Philosophy

The Self-Reliance Project began as a daily essay about what it means to be a maker during a crisis—to think through making, to know yourself better through the process of producing something—and to consider that this kind of return to self-knowledge might just be the entire point. Inspired by the 1841 essay by the American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote with astonishing clarity about the perils of conformity and consistency, these essays look at new ways of framing studio practice as an act of creative independence.

But the essays are just the starting point for a new kind of dialogue—us with you, and you with yourself—because even and especially in a year such as this one, we know that at the core of all creative enterprise lies a singular, beating heart. What does it mean, right now, to be self-reliant—to trust your voice, heed your mind, and connect to your own sense of what really matters?

Noreen Khawaja specializes in 19th and 20th century European intellectual history, and particularly on the shifting status of religious ideas and norms in late modernity. Her research examines the fate of metaphysics, the relation between critique and reform, the nature of realism, as well as the philosophical, historical, and aesthetic features of the secular. Her first book, on existentialism, The Religion of Existence: Asceticism in Philosophy from Kierkegaard to Sartre, was published with the University of Chicago Press in 2016.

A selection of these essays will be published later this year, in conjunction with Emerson’s original text. Pledge now and order your copy today!

Jobs | May 27